New Hampshire Public Health Laboratories FDA/FERN Cooperative Agreement Project Proposal 2010-11 - Narrative RFA Number: RFA-FD-10-003 Project Summary New Hampshire Public Health Laboratories (NHPHL) has been a Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-supported Food Emergency Response Network (FERN) laboratory since 2005 when we were one of eight labs selected for the program. With this FDA support, we have enhanced our contaminated product- tampering response to include semi-volatile poisons by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC-MS), non-volatile poisons by liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry/mass spectrometry (LC-MS-MS) and poisonous metals by inductively coupled plasma/mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) using FERN-CAP methods T-021, T-022, and T-026. During this time we were fortunate to sponsor a University of New Hampshire graduate student whose project was to develop a less labor-intensive method for paralytic shellfish toxins. In the next project period we propose to expand on the FDA-CAP program for identifying toxic substances in foods, while building on the shellfish toxin testing to include improvements in detection, additional toxins, and utilization of mussel samples to survey metals content in two locations on New Hampshire's coastline as well as to improve the ability of FERN laboratories to test for these dangerous toxins. Development of the metals technique will assist with the development of an analysis of canned fish. In this project period we propose to hire an additional part-time toxicologist. This employee will be helpful in carrying out some of the routine foods testing, as well as assisting with implementation of our new Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) as it relates to foods analysis in the chemistry laboratories.
The proposed project is comprised of four parts, all of which have public health relevance: method expansion, expanded shellfish toxin testing, metals in shellfish from different collection locations, and scombroid poison testing. The method expansion for all of these toxic substances will enhance the ability of the FERN and the CAP network to handle a (wider) variety of foods and to detect a wider variety of substances that might intentionally or unintentionally poison or terrorize. The FDA will be able to use laboratories funded by this cooperative agreement to provide food analysis related to chemical contamination during a large scale, national event.