Posted: July 15, 2020

Applications due August 20, 2020

FAS's mission is to create economic opportunity for American agriculture by expanding global markets. FAS collaborates with U.S. regulatory agencies, land-grant universities, and private sector organizations to eliminate or reduce technical barriers encountered by exporters of U.S. agricultural products to partner countries through the use of trade capacity building. FAS engages foreign governments to establish science-based trading systems that are consistent with U.S. policies and objectives, World Trade Organization (WTO) obligations, and international norms established through bodies such as the United Nations' Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and World Health Organization (WHO), as well as international standards-setting bodies such as Codex Alimentarius (Codex), International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), and the World Animal Health Organization (OIE).

The adoption of science and rules based standards for processed food ingredients will not only provide an opportunity for U.S. industry to fairly compete in this market, but will provide domestic consumers in Asian emerging markets, such as India and China, with access to safe and high-quality products for consumption from the U.S. Additionally, by participating in these workshops and contributing to the adoption of science and rules based standards, these target markets will enhance their domestic food safety structures and will be provided with access to a level of scientific advice that would not otherwise be affordable to these countries.

The USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (USDA/FAS) seeks to partner with a U.S. university to design and implement two short workshops in India and China, to facilitate engagement in science-based exchange and dialogue with key officials from these countries. The goal of this exchange is to maintain positive trade trends in processed foods in China and encourage a trade-enabling regulatory environment in India. This engagement is designed to foster coordination and set 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.

Program Objectives and Priorities

The objectives of this program are:

1) Enhance the policy and regulatory environment in India and China;

2) Provide information for future regulations on food ingredients to be based on sound science and good regulatory practices; and

3) Verify that countries are 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.

To achieve these objectives, the recipient will collaborate (virtually and in-person) with USDA/FAS in the design and implementation of the two workshops, the selection of technical experts, and in identifying indicators and measures of success.

The workshops will be led by U.S. 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 two workshops (i.e. in India and China) should be implemented back to back (i.e. to allow attending U.S. experts to make a single trip). Each workshop is imagined to be approximately two days in duration. Technical experts from the U.S. (such as USDA, Food and Drug Administration (FDA), academia and/or U.S. industry) engage in science-based exchanges and dialogues with key officials from China and India, such as local officials from the Ministry of Health, local FDA, and/or Ministry of Agriculture.

Workshop topics on the U.S. regulatory system for processed products, may include some or all of the following:

• How science and rules- based standards on processed food are created

• 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

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 India and China. In addition, the conference shall provide ample time for representatives from host countries to present on related topics. Each workshop is expected to include approximately the following number of participants:

• Location to be Determined, China: 10-20 local government officials, 20-30 local and international industry representatives, and 10-15 U.S. officials and representatives.

• New Delhi or Mumbai, India: 20-30 local government officials, 20-30 local and international industry representatives, and 10-15 U.S. officials and representatives.

• Travel costs of U.S. Government technical experts, except those of FAS, should be accounted for in the program budget

The program will include speakers from USDA, academia, industry, and current or retired FDA 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.

The performance measures will be evaluated and finalized in consultation with USDA/ FAS and U.S. technical and regulatory experts, 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.

See full solicitation here