The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has awarded a grant for $250,000 for the first year of a five-year cooperative agreement program with the Office of the State Chemist.

The Office of the State Chemist is a state regulatory agency administratively housed by Texas AgriLife Research based in College Station.

The grant funds will be used to further food and feed safety efforts, including managing risk involved with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) or commonly known as mad cow disease, dioxin and salmonella, said Dr. Tim Herrman, state chemist.

“These funds will help continue our prevention and monitoring efforts of food and feed manufacturing throughout the state, including imported products,” Herrman said.

Texas, along with 11 other states, has been awarded one of these grants, known as the Ruminant Feed Ban/Feed Safety Support Program Grant.

According to the FDA, cooperative agreements for the Ruminant Feed Ban/Feed Safety Support Program, supported by its Office of Regulatory Affairs Division of Federal-State Relations in coordination with its Center for Veterinary Medicine, enhances the infrastructure of state, territorial, and tribal animal feed safety and bovine spongiform encephalopathy prevention programs.

Under the agreements, the governments will enhance these programs to locate and visit companies involved in the manufacturing, distribution, and transportation of animal feed, as well as operations feeding ruminant animals, and verify their compliance with the ruminant feed ban and other feed safety regulations.

Funds also will be used to conduct educational outreach activities and to develop materials needed to further enhance the knowledge of and compliance with food safety regulations.

The development of a distance-learning graduate degree program in regulatory science in collaboration with academic units within the Texas A&M University System will be undertaken as a part of the agreement.

In a statement, Joseph Reardon, director of the FDA’s Division of Federal-State Relations, said “We are excited to award this grant in an effort to provide greater food and feed safety and defense capabilities to better serve the citizens of the state.”

b-fannin@tamu.edu