Training the food industry is critical to the success of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). To help facilitate training, FDA, together with United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), has funded a network of public and private partners in state, federal, tribal and international governments, industry, and academia for the development and delivery of training. The FSMA Collaborative Training Forum was established to provide a space for dialogue, information-sharing, alignment and collaboration for all those providing FSMA training. While training is the responsibility of the food industry, FDA, USDA, and its funded partners are committed to making FSMA training accessible and comprehensive, thereby helping the food industry to comply with the FSMA rules.
- About the FSMA Collaborative Training Forum
- FSMA Collaborative Training Forum Members
The FSMA Collaborative Training Forum members are uniquely positioned to understand FSMA and the intent of its rules, as well as the ‘on the ground’ realities for food industry members. Within the broad network of U.S. domestic and foreign food producers and domestic importers, Forum members coordinate and implement training on FSMA principles, practices, and processes and provide technical assistance to help food producers understand, navigate, and comply with the rules. View or Download a chart outlining the FSMA Framework for Industry Curriculum Development and Dissemination.
Four times a year, Forum members meet to share information about their programs, provide updates about the work, and discuss issues of common concern. These meetings allow members to have an open dialogue about issues, reduce duplication of effort, and leverage limited resources for the greatest overall effect.
The training alliances develop and train domestic and foreign food businesses—including small and very small farms and facilities—on the FSMA rules. Designed as model curricula, the alliances’ training modules focus on FSMA rules and the foundational reasons for the rules’ existence, to foster an understanding of both what is required and why it is required.
- Produce Safety Alliance (PSA): The Produce Safety Alliance (PSA), located at Cornell University, develops and delivers training to prepare fresh fruit and vegetable farmers, packers, regulatory personnel and others to meet the regulatory requirements of the Produce Safety Rule.
- Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance (FSPCA): The Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance, located at the Illinois Institute of Technology, assists companies by offering the following training courses:
- Preventive Controls for Human Food and Lead Instructor (Human Food) Training
- Preventive Controls for Animal Food and Lead Instructor (Animal Food) Training
- Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP)
- Intentional Adulteration
- Sprout Safety Alliance (SSA): The Sprout Safety Alliance, located at the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Institute for Food Safety and Health (IIT IFSH), develops and delivers training and outreach programs for stakeholders in the sprout production community.
SSA has three types of training courses: SSA Lead Instructor (LI) Course, Sprouter Training Course, and Sprouter + Lead Instructor Combo Course.
To facilitate the coordination and implementation of training, the FDA and USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) have funded, through competitive grant programs, the creation of a National Coordination Center (NCC) and four Regional Centers (RCs). Together, these coordination centers administer and manage the National Food Safety Training, Education, Extension, Outreach, and Technical Assistance Program for owners and operators of farms, small food processors, and small fruit and vegetable merchant wholesalers.
International Food Protection Training Institute (IFPTI), located in Battle Creek, MI, operates the National Coordination Center for FSMA training and serves as the information sharing hub for the four regional coordination centers, other stakeholders, and the FDA and USDA.
Each of four regional centers was established to build a regional infrastructure to support the delivery of FSMA food safety training, education, extension, outreach and technical assistance through collaborative partnerships with academia, non-governmental organizations, and other stakeholders. Regional centers support the development of qualified trainers through the relevant Train-the-Trainer processes established by the FSMA Training Alliances.
- Northeast Center to Advance Food Safety (NECAFS)
NECAFS, located at The University of Vermont, is a collaboration of over 200 participants across 12 states (CT, DE, MA, MD, ME, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VT, WV) and the District of Columbia.
- Western Regional Center to Enhance Food Safety (WRCEFS)
WRCEFS, located at Oregon State University, is a collaboration of 13 states and two territories and is organized into four sub-regions (which themselves are coordinated by four land-grant universities) to account for the diversity of crops and climate zones:
- Mountain Sub-Region, coordinated by Colorado State University:
- *CO, MT, NM, NV, UT, WY
- Northwest Sub-Region, coordinated by the University of Idaho:
- *ID, WA, AK, OR
- Pacific Sub-Region, coordinated by the University of Hawaii, Manoa:
- *HI, American Samoa, Guam
- Southwest Sub-Region, coordinated by the University of California, Davis:
- *CA, AZ
*Lead state for Sub-Regions
- Mountain Sub-Region, coordinated by Colorado State University:
- North Central Region (NCR) Center for FSMA Training, Extension, and Technical Assistance
NCR, located at the University of Iowa, is a collaboration of 12 land-grant universities across 12 states (IA, IL, IN, KS, MI, MN, MS, NE, ND, SD, OH, and WI). NCR has partnered with between two and 36 stakeholders per state, including owners of farms, membership associations and public interest groups, representing approximately 2,000 growers.
- Southern Regional FSMA Training Center (SC) for Training, Education, Extension, Outreach and Technical Assistance to Enhance Produce Safety
SC, located at the University of Florida, is a collaboration of 16 land-grant universities across 12 states and one territory (AL, AR, FL, GA, KY, LA, MS, NC, OK, PR, SC, TN, TX, and VA). SC is also establishing partnerships with stakeholder groups including state and local regulators, community-based and non-governmental organizations.
To meet the specific training and technical assistance needs of local food and tribal producers, FDA established relationships with groups that can best meet the training and technical assistance needs of these populations.
- The Native American Tribal Center for Food Safety Outreach, Education, Training and Technical Assistance: Established with the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative (IFAI) at University of Arkansas School of Law, IFAI is tasked with bringing training—through webinars and face-to-face-meetings—to tribal producers and food businesses to fulfill the requirements of FSMA.
- The Local Food Safety Collaborative: Established with National Farmers Union Foundation with the Local Food Safety Collaborative (LFSC), The Local Food Safety Collaborative (LFSC) is tasked with providing training, education, and outreach to local producers and processors to enhance the fundamental knowledge of food safety, and to help these local producers and processors comply with applicable FSMA regulations. National Farmers Union Foundation is the lead organization for this work and has partnered with: Cornell University, Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA), Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA), National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC), Deep South Food Alliance (DSFA), and New England Farmers Union (NEFU).
States have long played an important role in facilitating outreach, education, training, and technical assistance for their farming communities. To help plan and implement the Produce Safety Rule, FDA established a partnership with the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) to help to determine the resources needed by states to help implement the produce safety rule, as well as developing a timeline for successful implementation.
NASDA is collaborating with State Departments of Agriculture, public health and other agencies that have a role in FSMA Produce Safety Rule implementation. NASDA has also partnered with the Association of Food and Drug Officials, the International Food Protection Training Institute, Michigan State University extension, North Carolina State University Extension, and Rutgers University extension, and other public health partners in the development of a nation-wide produce safety plan.
Food producers in other nations who export to the United States must also meet applicable FSMA standards. To address the training needs of the global food industry, FDA and the University of Maryland, established through a cooperative agreement the Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (JIFSAN) to support the FDA’s mission through the delivery of food safety training programs throughout the world. Since 2000, JIFSAN has administered international training over 90 training programs to over 3,800 participants representing over 55 countries. Learn more about JIFSAN’s role in training and coordinating international readiness for FSMA.