Promoting Science based standards in the Gulf Standardization Organization


Funding Opportunity ID: 328501
Opportunity Number: USDA-FAS-10960-0200-10-20-0004
Opportunity Title: Promoting Science based standards in the Gulf Standardization Organization
Opportunity Category: Discretionary
Opportunity Category Explanation:
Funding Instrument Type: Other
Category of Funding Activity: Agriculture
Category Explanation:
CFDA Number(s): 10.960
Eligible Applicants: Others (see text field entitled “Additional Information on Eligibility” for clarification)
Additional Information on Eligibility: Michigan State University
Agency Code: USDA-FAS-GP-10960
Agency Name: Department of Agriculture
Technical Agricultural Assistance 10.960
Posted Date: Aug 04, 2020
Close Date: Aug 24, 2020
Last Updated Date: Aug 04, 2020
Award Ceiling: $250,000
Award Floor: $1
Estimated Total Program Funding: $250,000
Expected Number of Awards: 1
Description: The USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service seeks to collaborate with Michigan State University to design, plan, and implement one to two workshops and seminars for foreign regulatory officials in the Gulf Standards Organization (GSO) countries, pending the availability of funds. The workshops and seminars will inform foreign regulators and policymakers on options to promote an evidence-based approach to food additive policy. The seminars should focus on good regulatory practices, science- and evidence-based approaches to food additive approvals, alignment with World Trade Organization (WTO) obligations, as well as international standards-setting bodies such as the Codex Alimentarius (Codex). Program Objectives and Priorities 1) These seminars and workshops should feature speakers from research institutions that specialize in food additives, toxicology, international organizations and regulations, and good regulatory practices, current or former U.S. government officials, other subject matter experts, academia, and private sector representatives. Participants of these workshops and seminars will gain: (1) a better understanding of good regulatory practices, particularly how to work with private sector stakeholders in an open and transparent manner for the development of food additives regulations. (2) learn from existing research, best practices and lessons learned from existing U.S. programs and policies; and (3) Exchange of information on the role of food additives in processed foods, including for extending shelf-life, lower-caloric options and other public health purposes. (4) Share how each country is meeting guidelines under the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Agreement, the Codex General Standard for Food Additives, and the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee (JECFA) safety evaluations a. These U.S. government sessions would showcase U.S. programs and research in this space and discuss a comprehensive approach, a combination of regulatory and non-regulatory approaches to food additives and processed food trade in the United States. Moreover, these sessions will share experiences in producing the U.S. regulations on food additives, which reflect the current body of regulatory science and provide advice on food safety. USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service Office of Trade Policy and Geographic Affairs may also identify appropriate speakers which may include current, retired and former U.S. government officials, and members of academic institutions. b. The industry presentations will provide an opportunity for U.S. companies and trade associations to speak about their role in regulatory efforts and initiatives to promote the U.S. regulatory system, international regulatory work, such as public private partnerships in regulation development, and working with international organizations to create standards and guidance. Toxicologists and trade experts from industry could be invited to share their research on processed foods and the safety of U.S. food production. Industry representatives who regulation regulations and provide comments to regulatory authorities could also discuss the value of stakeholder engagement in developing regulations and provide insight on good regulatory practice. USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service Office of Trade Policy and Geographic Affairs can work with the applicant to make connections with leads for voluntary industry efforts, including dieticians. To achieve these objectives, the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (USDA/FAS) seeks to partner with Michigan State University to implement conferences in a GSO member country to engage in a science-based exchange and dialogue with key officials from these countries. Michigan State University will collaborate with USDA/FAS in the design and implementation of the conferences, the selection of technical experts, and in identifying indicators and measures of success. This engagement is designed to foster greater communication between the U.S. and these countries and deepen the foundation for sound science and good regulatory practices so that globalization and harmonization of food additive regulations will be achieved, resulting in an increase of U.S. trade of processed foods. The conferences will be led by USDA Foreign Agriculture Service’s Processed Products Division and will include technical experts with participation of high-level government officials from each country. The U.S. delegation will consist of current and former government officials and subject matter experts who will engage with local officials on international regulations, the use of sound science in the development of regulations, and the safety of food additives and chemicals. The workshops in the Gulf will be scheduled for two days in length, for each workshop. Technical experts from the U.S. (such as government, academia and/or U.S. industry) will engage in science-based exchanges and dialogues with key officials from the GSO, such as local officials from the Ministry of Health, local FDA, and/or Ministry of Agriculture and other relevant Ministries with responsibility for trade, standards and WTO affairs, and industry. Conference topics on the U.S. regulatory system for processed products, may include some or all of the following: · How science and rules- based standards for processed food are created and developed · Understanding toxicology and debunking safety myths · Dosage and safety exposure from chemicals · The safety, regulation, and use of chemicals as ingredients in processed foods · The Codex General Standard for Food Additives, the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee (JECFA) safety evaluations, and the importance of applicable international commitments of WTO members · The U.S. FDA food additive regulatory evaluation process, including the food additive regulatory processes. Through presentations in these conferences, the U.S. technical delegation will engage with local officials on international standards, speak on private-public partnerships and cooperation, and promote the benefits of harmonization to build technical capacity among high level officials from the GSO. In addition, the conference will provide ample time for representatives from host countries to present on related topics. Each workshop/conference would include the following number of participants: · Location To Be Determined, Middle East: 30-40 local government officials, 20-30 local and international industry representatives, and 10-15 U.S. officials and representatives. The program may include speakers from academia, industry, and current or retired government official(s) as well as representatives from host countries with specific expertise in the use and safety of chemicals used as ingredients in processed foods. A plenary meeting with industry officials may also take place to facilitate these activities. Consultations may take place after the workshops. The performance measures will be evaluated and finalized in consultation with USDA/ FAS and U.S. technical advisors, and will include the following: 1) Increased understanding of science and rules- based standards for food ingredients in target countries as measured through pre- and post-tests of workshop participants. 2) Number of interactions between participants and US technical advisors as a result of USDA program. 3) Level of increased engagement with government officials from GSO Member states after the workshop Background U.S. processed foods currently make up about one third of U.S. agricultural exports to the world by value. As U.S. companies looks to innovate and create new processed products to meet consumer demand for new products, sometime even lower calorie, lower sugar options, the regulatory systems in foreign countries are slow to approve, creating a technical barrier to trade and limiting innovations in food technology. USDA would like to ensure that the process for developing policies on food additives is science-based, transparent, considers international standards and U.S. regulations, and is in line with WTO commitments. The adoption of science and rules-based standards for processed food ingredients will not only increase opportunities for U.S. industry to compete fairly in overseas markets but will provide domestic consumers in the Middle East with access to safe and high-quality U.S. products for consumption. The Gulf Standards Organization (GSO) develop regional standards that the Gulf Cooperation Council members and Yemen may choose to implement. Some of the model standards and technical regulations are not science or evidence-based, and do not consider U.S. regulations. While the GSO seeks establish consistent approaches across its members in practice they often release inconsistent and conflicting regulations and safety evaluation procedures for chemicals and additives used as food ingredients in processed food products. They could benefit from training on good regulatory practices and better understanding of the underlying scientific principles of risk assessment, and existing international standards for food additives. The program will take into account the UAE’s current food additives regulations, draft GSO regulations, and also Saudi Arabia regulations. This activity would help build bridges with our Middle East trading partners and give participants exposure to the U.S. regulatory system.
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