( File photo )

The Food and Drug Administration has signed an agreement that will help state departments of agriculture as they take on roles in ensuring the Produce Safety Rule is implemented.

The five-year cooperative agreement with the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture provides “critical information and resources” to implement the rule, part of the Food Safety Modernization Act, according to an FDA release. The agreement provides $1.3 million to the association allowing it to help state and territorial produce safety programs to develop programs, educate about the rule and compliance to it.

The agreement also calls for an annual National Consortium of the state and territorial agencies to give program updates, share best practices and provide the FDA with feedback.

In the first and second year of the agreement, the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture will work with the FDA the On-Farm Readiness Review system, according to the release. The next three years will be assisting the FDA in developing a national program “to establish and promote a uniform foundation of produce safety, including research on existing programs and how they can be leveraged to develop a national produce safety regulatory program.”

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