International Food Protection Training Institute
The International Food Protection Training Institute is an initiative of the Global Food Protection Institute, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization driving the adoption of food-protection policies and practices for a safer global food supply. Its mission is to improve public health and reduce mortality, morbidity, and economic costs associated with foodborne illnesses.
In collaboration with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. federal regulatory and public health officials, and academic institutions, The Training Institute delivers food protection courses to federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial food protection professionals. This training meets established U.S. federal food safety standards and all costs associated with the training are reimbursed.
State and local agencies carry out more than 90 percent of food safety inspections in U.S. food manufacturing and distribution establishments, yet less than $1 million was spent on training in 2009, which is inadequate to facilitate any significant increase in capacity or equivalency at the state and local levels. Many state and local offices no longer fund travel for training their food safety inspectors due to budgetary constraints. The Training Institute makes its programs free for U.S. regulatory officials, reimbursing training and travel costs. The food training organization provides a blueprint for career-spanning, standards-based training curriculum that could raise the standard of food training nationwide. In 2009, The Training Institute was established after government, academic, industry, and national food safety groups collaborated, prompted by the melamine incident in 2007. Most face-to-face training programs are delivered at the Kendall Center on the campus of Western Michigan University, in Battle Creek, Michigan. Additional courses and webinars are offered on-line.
The Training Institute received the 2011 NSF International Food Safety Leadership Trendsetter Award that recognized The Training Institute as a first-year program leading the charge in food safety leadership, initiative, and accomplishments.
The Training Institute was endorsed by the FDA’s Partnership for Food Protection Training Workgroup and started work on its goals, including identifying and cataloging nearly 900 existing food safety courses in the U.S.
In June 2010, The Training Institute coordinated emergency training for states in response to the BP Oil Spill. Nearly 60 officials were funded by The Training Institute to attend seafood sensory training given by expert responders in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. This training allowed state officials to make decisions about closing fishing areas as well as evaluate the safety of seafood harvested in the Gulf.
The International Food Protection Training Institute's signature training program, The Fellowship in Food Protection: Applied Science, Law, and Policy, has received accreditation from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). The Fellowship in Food Protection program, established in 2010, is designed to provide experienced food regulatory professionals from all areas of food protection with critical-thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making skills within the framework of food regulatory science, law, and policy. Program participants take three week-long seminars over a one-year period, conduct research on food safety issues, and then share their newfound knowledge with colleagues in the food protection field.
By September 2012, more than 2,250 food protection professionals from 49 states and seven other countries attended training hosted or sponsored by The Training Institute.
The Training Institute received $1 million as designated in a 2010 federal appropriations bill which provides funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and related agencies.
In September 2011, The Training Institute received a multi-year grant of $1.3 million per year for five years from the Food and Drug Administration. The funding assists the joint efforts by FDA and The Training Institute to implement the national food training infrastructure mandated by the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act.
The Training Institute Advisory Council represents a diverse group of food protection communities—including federal regulatory agencies, state and local food protection agencies and associations, industry, consumer advocates, and academia.
Participating organizations include:
- Association of Food and Drug Officials
- Food safety is aim of institute: Inspectors from across U.S. being trained in Battle Creek
- Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program
- FDA 50-State Meeting
- New York Times: Oil Spill’s Impact on Gulf Seafood Remains Uncertain
- MSNBC Video
- Gulf seafood safety inspections ramp up as oil spill spreads
- USA Today: Officials work hard to protect Gulf seafood from oil spill
- Times Online: Forget high technology – a nose is best for sniffing out oily fish
- Nosing Through Seafood
- Fox: Local Group Training Noses in the Gulf
- Southwest Michigan's Second Wave - "They Make Food Safer in Battle Creek"
- Stabenow, Levin: Senate Approves More Than $48 Million in Critical Funding for Michigan
- CBS Detroit: Food Protection Institute Gets FDA Grant