Honolulu (KHON2) – The Hawaii Department of Agriculture is currently accepting applications for grants to help Hawaii farmers and ranchers with the cost of bringing their operations in compliance with state and federal food safety regulations aimed at preventing foodborne illnesses.
During the 2018 session, the state legislature appropriated a total of $475,000 toward the grant program to help local food producers comply with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and other state food safety requirements.
Hawaii farmers and ranchers may apply for reimbursement of costs up to $5,000 which will be distributed on a pro-rata basis depending on the number of applicants and reimbursements costs submitted. The application deadline is April 15, 2019.
Phyllis Shimabukuro-Geiser, acting chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture:
“All farms, regardless of size, should follow good agricultural practices to prevent foodborne illnesses. For many commercial farms, compliance is mandatory and this grant program will help to defray some of the costs associated with implementing the required food safety practices.”
Costs that are eligible for reimbursement include, but are not limited to:
Training in FSMA and costs of audits for good agricultural and handling practices
Installation of water systems, sanitizer treatment supplies and monitoring meters
Bacteriological analysis of water, raw produce or the facility
Personal hygiene equipment and supplies, including portable restrooms and hand-washing sinks, and worker protection clothing.
Wildlife fencing, pest deterrents and traps
General clean up and removal of hazardous materials
Food traceablity software
Agricultural producers may find more information on the grant program requirements and the application form on the HDOA Food Safety website at: http://hdoa.hawaii.gov/qad/commodities-branch/food-safety-information/