[Federal Register: June 25, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 123)]
[Notices]               
[Page 36035-36037]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr25jn08-47]                         

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Notices
                                                Federal Register
________________________________________________________________________

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains documents other than rules 
or proposed rules that are applicable to the public. Notices of hearings 
and investigations, committee meetings, agency decisions and rulings, 
delegations of authority, filing of petitions and applications and agency 
statements of organization and functions are examples of documents 
appearing in this section.

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[[Page 36035]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Food Safety and Inspection Service

[Docket No. FSIS-2008-0018]

 
Notice of Funding Opportunity With the Food Safety and Inspection 
Service for Food Safety and Defense Training for Spanish-Speaking Plant 
Owners and Operators

AGENCY: Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of funding opportunity.

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SUMMARY: The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is soliciting 
applications for one or more cooperative agreements for a collaborative 
outreach program on food safety and defense. The program will target 
Spanish-speaking owners and operators of small and very small 
establishments producing meat and poultry products. The goal is to 
increase knowledge of and compliance with FSIS requirements regarding 
meat and poultry products sold in the U.S. by this segment of the 
regulated industry. FSIS will allocate between $50,000 and $100,000 to 
one or more cooperative agreements this fiscal year 2008, with 
agreements being renewable for up to five years.

DATES: Applications must be received by August 11, 2008.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mildred Rivera-Betancourt, Training 
Operations Branch, telephone (515)727-8987; facsimile (515)727-8992; e-
mail mildred.rivera-betancourt@fsis.usda.gov. Application materials can 
be downloaded from the Government grants Web site at http://
www.grants.gov. Click on ``Find Grant Opportunities,'' then select 
``Basic Search;'' type in ``10.479'' in the Search by Catalog of 
Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number field and select ``Search''; 
click on ``Food Safety Cooperation Agreements'' and select 
``Application'' to access the application for this announcement.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    FSIS relies on partner agencies, organizations and institutions to 
help it in many aspects of its public health mission. These partners 
share FSIS's public health and food safety goals and through their 
activities make important contributions to national food safety and 
food defense.
    On occasion, FSIS supports such partnerships with state or local 
agencies, educational institutions or other non-profit organizations by 
funding projects to address specific areas of mutual concern. This is 
done under FSIS's authority to enter into cooperative agreements for 
educational programs or special studies to improve the safety of the 
nation's food supply (Pub. L. 108-7, sec. 713, 117 Stat. 39).
    Cooperative agreements are federal grants where the granting 
Federal agency is substantially involved with the cooperator that 
receives the funding during both project development and project 
execution.
    The nature and the number of cooperative projects funded each year 
are determined by the Agency's current priorities, the availability of 
discretionary funds, the number of proposals received, and the Agency's 
assessment of how well proposals will address its stated priority goals 
and objectives.
    Outreach is an essential component of FSIS's regulatory program. 
Improving outreach is one of FSIS's six priorities in its Strategic 
Plan for 2008 to 2013. The Web site for the Strategic Plan is: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/PDF/Strategic_Plan_2008-2013.pdf .
    Outreach is essential because the agency's implementation of its 
Pathogen Reduction/Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) 
regulation requires that regulated establishments develop and implement 
their own controls to ensure production of safe products. It is a 
public health imperative that all producers of meat, poultry and egg 
products for American consumers employ effective systems for food 
safety and food defense.

Program Description

    FSIS wants to improve its outreach to underserved and non-English 
speaking persons engaged in meat and poultry processing. The initial 
focus is on Spanish-speaking operators of small plants (fewer than 500 
employees) and very small plants (fewer than 10 employees, or less than 
$2.5 million in sales.) Operators of small and very small plants 
generally have fewer technical and financial resources by which to 
ensure compliance with Federal inspection requirements than do large 
plants. This disadvantage is exacerbated if English is not the 
predominant language spoken because difficulties may arise in 
understanding and complying with applicable inspection laws and 
guidance generally available only in English.
    In addition to U.S. plants affected, the ability of plant operators 
in countries exporting to the U.S. to meet equivalency requirements 
directly relates to their ability to understand our requirements and 
establish systems that are as effective as our own.
    Therefore, FSIS intends to fund one or more cooperative projects to 
provide training and education to Spanish-speaking owners and operators 
of establishments producing meat and poultry products subject to FSIS's 
regulations. This includes establishments in the U.S., including the 
Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and establishments in other countries 
producing imports to the U.S. in the Caribbean, Mexico, Central and 
South America. The goal is for those trained to be able to enhance 
their own food safety programs, better demonstrate compliance with 
applicable regulations, and communicate more effectively with FSIS and 
other Agencies regarding the production and export of their meat, 
poultry, and egg products.
    The cooperator that receives the funding will design, develop, and 
deliver training for Spanish-speaking operators of meat and poultry 
facilities that addresses the effective use of HACCP systems, 
appropriate responses to emerging food safety and food defense 
concerns, understanding of the latest information on foodborne illness 
and hazards, and the availability of new procedures and technologies 
for hazard avoidance and mitigation. HACCP training should encompass 
products

[[Page 36036]]

entering plants as well as products produced.
    Training will address U.S. meat, poultry, and egg products 
regulations, policies, and procedures. It will also provide guidance on 
how small and very small plant owners and operators can manage their 
operations to better ensure compliance with applicable FSIS 
regulations.
    The training program will be designed to reach a large proportion 
of the targeted operators, directly or indirectly. Training will be 
delivered through workshops and other kinds of group instruction but 
will also be delivered through alternative methods such as electronic 
self-teaching materials and distance learning programs.
    Materials developed will have educational value independent of the 
cooperative project and will be made available by FSIS or the 
cooperator for reproduction and public use.

Available Funding

    Fiscal year 2008 funding will total between $50,000 and $100,000.

Project Period

    Projects are funded for a period of up to one year from the project 
starting date. Awarded cooperative agreement(s) may be renewed yearly 
for up to four additional years.

Eligible Applicants

    Educational institutions, state, local and tribal government 
agencies, and other non-profit organizations with demonstrable 
capabilities to provide outreach and education to Spanish-speaking 
owners and operators of meat and poultry establishments are invited to 
submit applications.

Content and Form of Application

    1. Application for Federal Assistance, OMB Standard Form 424. 
Please complete this form in its entirety. The original copy of the 
application must contain a pen-and-ink signature of the authorized 
organizational representative--an individual with the authority to 
commit the organization's time and other relevant resources to the 
project. The CFDA (block 10) is ``10.479--Food Safety Cooperative 
Agreements.'' The Web site for OMB Standard Form 424 is: http://www.grants.gov/agencies/aforms_repository_information.jsp.
    2. Project Description. The description should provide reviewers 
sufficient information to effectively evaluate the merits of the 
application under the review criteria listed below. It should include a 
statement of the objectives; the steps necessary to implement the 
objectives of the outreach program; an evaluation plan for the 
activities; a program delivery plan; and a statement of work describing 
how the activities will be implemented and managed by the applicant. It 
should be no longer than eight pages.
    The statement of work should be in a table format that identifies 
each objective, the key tasks to achieve it, the entity responsible for 
the task, the completion date, the task location, and FSIS' role.
    3. Budget. Applicants must complete OMB Standard Form 424-A, 
``Budget Information, Non-Construction Program'', and a budget 
narrative itemizing costs for each line item on the SF-424-A. The Web 
site for OMB Standard Form 424-A is: http://www.grants.gov/agencies/aforms_repository_information.jsp.
    4. Key Personnel and Collaborative Arrangements. Applicants should 
provide information on the roles and responsibilities of each person 
working on the project, specifying the project leader and including 
collaborators from other organizations.

Address to Submit Applications

    Applications may be submitted through http://www.grants.gov, or 
directly to FSIS, electronically or by mail. Applications sent directly 
should be e-mailed to mildred.rivera-betancourt@fsis.usda.gov, or 
mailed to Mildred Rivera-Betancourt, U.S Department of Agriculture, 
FSIS, OEET/CFL/TOB, 210 Walnut Street, Room 985, Des Moines, IA 50320.
    All applications must be submitted by the deadline. Applications 
meet the deadline if they are received in the mailroom at the above 
address on or before the date applications are due.

Date Applications Are Due

    Applications are due August 11, 2008.

Acknowledgment of Applications

    FSIS will acknowledge receipt of applications by e-mail. If receipt 
of application is not acknowledged by FSIS within 15 days of the 
submission deadline, the applicant should contact Mildred Rivera-
Betancourt at (515) 727-8987, e-mail: mildred.rivera-
betancourt@fsis.usda.gov, or Ralph Stafko at (202) 690-6592, e-mail: 
ralph.stafko@fsis.usda.gov.

Application Review Process

    Applications will be reviewed on their merits by a panel of at 
least three reviewers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other 
agencies or disinterested organizations as needed. The panel will 
examine and score applications based on each of the five criteria 
listed below. Reviewers will assign a point value up to the maximum for 
each criterion. After all reviewers have evaluated and scored each of 
the applications, the scores for the entire panel will be averaged to 
determine a final score for the application.
    After assigning points for each criterion, applications will be 
listed in order of their final score and presented, along with funding 
level recommendations, to the FSIS Assistant Administrator for 
Outreach, Employee Education and Training, who will make the final 
decision on awarding of the cooperative agreement(s). Decisions may be 
tentative, pending additional information subject to negotiation 
between FSIS and the applicant.
    FSIS will review and critique applications, and select those to be 
made cooperative projects, by September 23, 2008.

Evaluation Criteria and Weights

    Proposals for funding will be reviewed and ranked in accord with 
the following factors:
     Project Design. The project description demonstrates 
understanding of the needs of Spanish-speaking operators of small and 
very small meat and poultry plants. It shows how the project will 
assist small and very small plants to maintain effective HACCP systems, 
produce safe products, and otherwise comply with federal regulations. 
The project provides for effective outreach, including development of 
work products that can be used to expand coverage through independent 
use of materials subsequent to the cooperative agreement. The project 
includes well-constructed plans for assessing needs, targeting those 
needs, and measuring the program's effectiveness. Maximum 40 points.
     Delivery Plan. The plan specifies applicant's 
responsibilities for each part of the program delivery. The plan 
demonstrates ability to identify specific tasks required and time lines 
to accomplish them. Higher scores will be given to the extent tasks are 
specific, measurable, and reasonable, have specific periods for 
completion, relate to required activities, and reflect program 
objectives. Maximum 20 points.
     Project Management. The applicant demonstrates an ability 
to implement sound and effective project management. Organizational 
skills, leadership, and experience in delivering services or programs 
are indicative of ability to execute project plans. Maximum 20 points.

[[Page 36037]]

     Investment in Project. The cooperator agrees to contribute 
significant resources to the project. Maximum 10 points.
     Collaborative Partnering. The plan reflects intent to work 
collaboratively with other partners, and demonstrated experience and 
capacity to partner with other agencies, organizations or institutions, 
to enhance the effectiveness of the program. Maximum 10 points.

Award Administration

    Notification of Award. FSIS will notify project leaders whose 
applications have been selected for funding. The FSIS awarding official 
will enter into cooperative agreements with applicants whose 
applications have been judged most meritorious under the procedures set 
forth in this announcement. Cooperative agreements will provide the 
amount of Federal funds for use in the project period, the terms and 
conditions of the award, and the time-period for the project. The 
effective date of the award is the date the agreement is executed by 
both parties. All funds provided must be expended solely for the 
purposes for which they are obligated under the approved agreement and 
budget, the regulations, and applicable Federal cost principles. 
Awarded agreements are subject to applicable Federal regulations and 
OMB circulars. No commitment of Federal assistance beyond the project 
period is made or implied for any award resulting from this notice.
    Applicants that are not funded will be notified within 120 days 
after the submission deadline.

Additional Public Notification

    Public awareness of all segments of rulemaking and policy 
development is important. Consequently, in an effort to ensure that 
minorities, women, and persons with disabilities are aware of this 
notice, FSIS will announce it online through the FSIS Web page located 
at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/regulations/2008_Notices_Index/. FSIS 
will also make copies of this Federal Register publication available 
through the FSIS Constituent Update, which is used to provide 
information regarding FSIS policies, procedures, regulations, Federal 
Register notices, FSIS public meetings, and other types of information 
that could affect or would be of interest to constituents and 
stakeholders. The Update is communicated via Listserv, a free 
electronic mail subscription service for industry, trade groups, 
consumer interest groups, health professionals, and other individuals 
who have asked to be included. The Update is also available on the FSIS 
Web page. Through the Listserv and Web page, FSIS is able to provide 
information to a much broader and more diverse audience. In addition, 
FSIS offers an e-mail subscription service which provides automatic and 
customized access to selected food safety news and information. This 
service is available at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/news_and_events/
email_subscription/. Options range from recalls to export information 
to regulations, directives and notices. Customers can add or delete 
subscriptions themselves, and they have the option to password protect 
their accounts.

    Done at Washington, DC, on: June 19, 2008.
Alfred V. Almanza,
Administrator.
[FR Doc. E8-14287 Filed 6-24-08; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3410-DM-P