Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Bureau of Food Safety and Laboratory Services was recognized for its important work during the last year with a national honor – the Association of Food and Drug Officials' (AFDO) 2022 Elliot O. Grosvenor Food Safety Award.
The award is presented to programs that best showcase improvement, innovation, or sustained high performance within a food safety program. The bureau was one of only two food safety programs in the country that earned the award this year.
The department was recognized for:
- Implementing a comprehensive Results PA – Performance Management System to better support data driven decisions
- Continuing to evaluate agency laboratory and regulatory programs against national standards, with the goals of maintaining international laboratory accreditation, conformance with FDA's Manufactured Food Regulatory Program Standards (MFRPS), and increased conformance with FDA's National Voluntary Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards (NVRFRPS) – all of which require regular self-assessment
The department also was recognized for the agency's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Agency accomplishments include:
- Distributing personal protective equipment to restaurant operators, manufacturers, grocers, and other frontline food workers
- Counseling restaurant operators, in partnership with industry associations, on food safety related to converting from dine-in service to prepackaged take-out offerings
- Proactively consulting on a voluntary basis at food manufacturing facilities and USDA-inspected meat processing facilities to advise on methods to protect essential food workers
- Performed preseason mitigation inspections at seasonal farm labor camps
- PA has been recognized as one of only eight states that had robust protections for the seasonal and migrant farm labor work force
- Accomplishing 90 percent of inspections in 2020 and exceeding normal inspection numbers by 15 percent in 2021
"The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture's Bureau of Food Safety and Laboratory Services staff works incredibly hard to keep our farmers, restaurant workers, employees, and the public safe because it's what they do – it's what drives them. Over last two years, they have gone the extra mile in responding to a health crisis in addition to performing their regular duties," said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. "This national honor is well deserved for all the bureau has done and continues to do for the health and safety of Pennsylvanians. I applaud our staff for their leadership during trying times and their dedication to our agency mission."
This award was established in 2010 by AFDO and is presented to recognize outstanding achievements made by food safety programs within state departments of agriculture, natural resource agencies, public health departments, or environmental conservation departments in the U.S. or Canada.
The department was presented the award at AFDO's annual educational conference in Glendale, Arizona on June 14, 2022.
Note: A photograph from the awards ceremony is attached. Those pictured are department staff who accepted the award for the agency. (Left to right: Suzanne Pyle, Nichole Martz, Acting Bureau Director Sheri Morris, Stefanie Smith, Kelly Kline.)
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