International Food Protection Training Institute (IFPTI) Coordinates Seafood Sensory Training for Officials in Gulf States Affected by BP Oil Spill

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The International Food Protection Training Institute (IFPTI), a leader in delivering career-spanning, standards-based food protection training to state and local food safety officials, announced today it is partnering with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association’s (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Services (NMFS) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to train food protection officials to determine the safety and acceptability of seafood from the oil-contaminated Gulf-state area.

BATTLE CREEK, Mich., May 28 - The International Food Protection Training Institute (IFPTI), a leader in delivering career-spanning, standards-based food protection training to state and local food safety officials, announced today it is partnering with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association’s (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Services (NMFS) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to train food protection officials to determine the safety and acceptability of seafood from the oil-contaminated Gulf-state area.

TRAINING DATES/LOCATIONS
June 2-3: NOAA/NMFS Laboratory, Pascagoula, MS
June 8-9, NOAA/NMFS Laboratory, Pascagoula, MS

This federal program will provide hands-on training to develop skills in sensory detection for taint in seafood exposed to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. These skills are critical for seafood safety monitoring in order for food protection officials to take regulatory response measures that can include advisories and opening and closing of fisheries. All instruction will be provided by a special NMFS/FDA Sensory Expert Team that has been collecting base-line samples from the Gulf region for these and future training sessions.

In addition to coordinating attendance of state officials from Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas, IFPTI will reimburse attendees’ travel expenses to overcome the limited funding for training and tight travel budgets that would otherwise have prevented these food protection officials from getting this vital emergency training.

To date, working in partnership with the Association of Food & Drug Officials, and in collaboration with the FDA, IFPTI has trained more than 500 food protection professionals from 37 states. Utilizing a FY2010 federal appropriation, IFPTI expects to train approximately 1,000 state and local food protection professionals in 2010 and the Institute is preparing to train up to 2,000 to 3,000 food safety officials in 2011 utilizing funding allocated for such purposes in the President’s FY2011 Budget.

About IFPTI
The International Food Protection Training Institute (IFPTI) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization delivering career-spanning food protection training for state and local food protection professionals to assure competency and equivalency in meeting established U.S. federal food safety standards. Working in partnership with the Association of Food and Drug Officials, the Institute seeks to protect the public's health by working with federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial food protection officials in the creation of an integrated national food protection system that ensures the safety of the U.S. food supply. IFPTI’s training facilities are located in Western Michigan University’s Kendall Center in Battle Creek, MI. Initial funding for IFPTI has been provided by a grant from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation. For more information, visit http://www.ifpti.org.

About NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association’s National Marine Fisheries Service is the federal agency, a division of the Department of Commerce, responsible for the stewardship of the nation's living marine resources and their habitat. NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service is responsible for the management, conservation and protection of living marine resources within the United States' Exclusive Economic Zone (water three to 200 mile offshore).

Using the tools provided by the Magnuson-Stevens Act, NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service assesses and predicts the status of fish stocks, ensures compliance with fisheries regulations and works to reduce wasteful fishing practices. Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act, NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service recovers protected marine species (i.e. whales, turtles) without unnecessarily impeding economic and recreational opportunities.

With the help of the six regional offices and eight councils, NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service is able to work with communities on fishery management issues. NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service works to promote sustainable fisheries and to prevent lost economic potential associated with overfishing, declining species and degraded habitats. NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service strives to balance competing public needs. For more information, visit http://www.noaa.gov.

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Joan Bowman
IFPTI
269-350-1811
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