LANSING — Ensuring the safety of the state’s food supply is paramount to protecting public health as well as helping to grow Michigan’s $104.7 billion food and agriculture economy.
“As part of the department’s commitment to food safety, we have provided seven grants for food safety education and training,” said Tim Slawinski, director of the Food and Dairy Division of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. “This grant program puts funds into the hands of those who have direct contact with restaurant and retail grocery store workers who handle food; and with consumers, to assure a well-trained workforce and informed public.”
The Food Safety Education Fund was established under the Michigan Food Law of 2000, as amended, Sec. 4117, and is funded through assessments of $3.00 to $5.00 from each Michigan food establishment license. The grant program is designed to provide food safety training and education to consumers, and training and education to food service establishment employees and agents of the director who enforce Michigan’s food regulations.
The department received a total of 18 grant proposals, requesting funds totaling $684,025. Of those, MDARD awarded seven projects totaling $218,250. The 2019 Food Safety Education Fund grant recipients are:
• Great Lakes Conference on Food Protection (training and scholarship funds for state and local food safety regulatory staff), $25,000;
• Michigan Dairy Industry Conference (milk safety training and education for dairy industry and regulatory staff), $5,000;
• Michigan Environmental Health Association (food protection training for environmental health professionals), $31,000;
• Michigan Restaurant Association (year 2 of a 3-year proposal – multi-media food safety education campaign for consumers, industry and regulators – includes matching funds), $46,833;
• Michigan Restaurant Association (resources and training for specialized food processing in foodservice establishments – includes matching funds), $37,500;
• Michigan Farmers Market Association (statewide consumer food safety education outreach), $45,167; and,
• Michigan Restaurant Association (resources and training for employee health for foodservice establishment employees, managers and regulatory agents – includes matching funds), $27,750.
Food safety resources for consumers and food industry professionals, including materials developed from Food Safety Education Fund grants in previous years, can be found at www.MichiganFoodSafety.com or www.michigan.gov/foodsafety. For more information, contact the MDARD Food and Dairy Division at 800-292- 3939. — P.S.