The Southwest Border Food Safety and Defense Center and New Mexico Department of Agriculture applied for and received a Food Protection Task Force Grant from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the Spring of 2010. The request was to create and maintain a program such as a Food Protection Task Force in New Mexico decicated to food safety and defense.
New Mexico has several agencies responsible for different aspects of food safety and defense. The New Mexio Food Protection Alliance was formed to include all of these agencies and private sector partners. The private sector has become much more engaged due to recent far-reaching product recalls. They have a full understanding of the need to partner with the regulatory agencies and food defense education institutions like New Mexico State University in becoming better prepared and to obtain the tools to conduct risk and vulnerability assessments, food defense plans, HAACP training, and Continuity of Operations plans.
The first New Mexico Food Protection Alliance Conference was held on November 17 and 18, 2010 in Albuquerque New Mexico. The Conference brought together over 100 professionals representing the public and private sector from across New Mexico including senior officials from the USDA and FDA.
- Implement a training program and a series of response exercises to help participants gain experience and become better acquainted with the investigation process when a food borne illness outbreak and investigation occurs.
- Identify and fill gaps in knowledge related to food safety, food defense and food security.
- Develop a Web Portal to information on food safety and defense topics important to industry, consumers, and Alliance members. The web portal should include such things as current information on food safety and defense activities occurring nationwide.
- A contact list for Alliance members.