The Washington Department of Health Public Health Laboratories (WAPHL) operates a comprehensive environmental radiation laboratory with advanced radiation emergency response capability, including procedures for measuring radiological contamination in foods. Food safety and security are essential components to commerce in the state and to the United States. Washington is a large agricultural food producer and has several major ports which are active in food importing and exporting. From the ports, food is shipped throughout the Pacific Rim, as well as into other parts of the Unites States and the world. The ultimate objectives of this application are: Maintain expertise in radiological food testing; Build capacity to process a larger number and wider variety of samples quickly and accurately; Develop and strengthen existing collaborative partnerships with FDA and other FERN laboratories, and;Develop protocols and procedures that can be implemented nationally to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of food sample processing for radiological analyses. This application will specifically be used to fund two radiochemists to for procedure development/modification, procedure testing and validation, technology/method transfer to other FERN laboratories, and to coordinate two interlaboratory-comparison emergency response exercises, one in 2012 and the other in 2015, as follow-up to the MENU2010 exercise. Procedure work will emphasize sample preparation and counting for screening and identification by gamma and beta spectrometry aimed at enhancing the speed, throughput and quality of sample preparation.
This proposal addresses the need for food safety and security testing capability and capacity for radiological contamination, whether accidental or intentional. Successful completion of the proposed work will result in nationally implemented methods to analyze food for radiological contamination and demonstration of these abilities by the USDA/US FDA Food Emergency Response Network of laboratories through two laboratory response exercises.