Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has announced that the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture received a $6.3 million grant from the Food & Drug Administration to share the administration and enforcement costs for the Food Safety and Modernization Act produce safety rule.
The money will allow the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture to triple staffing in its Bureau of Food Safety and Laboratory Services Fruit and Vegetable Division to nine full-time staff. That will help pay for inspector training and grower education programs.
The department began work on a state FSMA plan a year ago. Producers will undergo audits prior to inspection in which PDA inspectors will identify problems and improvements necessary for their operations to pass FSMA inspections. Later, staff will return to perform official inspections.
Currently, PDA inspectors perform voluntary Good Handling Practices/Good Agriculture Practices audits to growers who require third-party inspections to meet market requirements.