The Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO) is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a $2,000,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to create and develop an international food protection training institute. The training institute will be a key component of a national food protection center to be located in Battle Creek, Michigan. While the overall purpose of the training institute is to address the unmet educational needs of food protection professionals, its immediate focus will be on the urgent need for standardized, graduated, and career-spanning training of state and local food protection professionals to meet generally recognized food safety standards.
AFDO and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation are committed to improving the food safety system, which has come under intense criticism recently as a result of several multi-state foodborne illness outbreaks. “Americans depend on state and local food inspectors to protect us from health hazards that cost lives, but those inspectors frequently lack adequate training to do their jobs, and our states can’t afford to develop or sustain good training programs,” said Rick Foster, Vice President of Programs for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
“In 1998, AFDO called for the creation of a nationally integrated food safety system. The development of a national food protection training institute is a major step in moving toward a more coordinated and effective system,” said Joseph Corby, Executive Director of AFDO. “These training programs will encompass all stakeholders and all elements of food protection. The certified curricula will meet specific standards, span a professional’s entire career, and serve as an umbrella to incorporate existing training programs,” Corby added.
In June 2000, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Inspector General (OIG) released a report on oversight by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of state contracts. In this report, the OIG recommended that the FDA take steps to promote equivalency among federal and state food safety standards, inspection programs, and enforcement practices. State food inspectors perform more than 90 percent of all food plant inspections in the U.S., including more than half of all FDA inspections under contracts with FDA. Yet, there is no mandatory training requirement for state and local food safety professionals, and training varies by state. In fiscal year 2008, state and local inspectors conducted more than 2,000,000 inspections, including approximately 10,000 FDA food contract inspections.
AFDO Committees will be charged to assist the organization in developing this training institute. A special meeting for AFDO Committee Chairs will be held in Chicago prior to AFDO’s Annual Education Conference to discuss these charges and other issues relating to this project.
Additional information about the development of the International Food Protection Training Institute (IFPTI) can be found on AFDO’s website: www.afdo.org.
About W.K. Kellogg Foundation
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation was established in 1930. The organization supports children, families and communities as they strengthen and create conditions that propel vulnerable children to achieve success as individuals and as contributors to the larger community and society. Grants are concentrated in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the southern African countries of Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland and Zimbabwe.
For further information on the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, please visit the Foundation’s website at www.wkkf.org.