An All Food Hazards Rapid Response Team Project Summary/Abstract The mission of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), Food and Drug Branch's (FDB), Food Safety Program is to prevent and react to food and food-related problems and emergencies. We accomplish this with a combination of prevention efforts and active intervention and response throughout the entire food chain. Toward that end we have created the California Food Emergency Response Team, or CalFERT, an "All Food Hazards Rapid Response Team (RRT)," to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of our response to food emergencies, whether unintentional or through purposeful acts. The primary objective of our proposed program is to further develop, implement, and sustain California's ability to rapidly respond to food and feed emergencies. This would entail the addition of three staff members from the funds authorized under this grant that will enhance the program's ability to conduct investigations utilizing the Incident Command System (ICS) and development of RRT protocols;the purchase of additional technical and sampling equipment and supplies;the development and provision of commodity-specific training courses;the strengthening of interagency collaboration, cooperation, and communication;achievement of compliance with the Manufactured Food Regulatory Program Standards (MFRPS), and;enhancement of coordination and interactions with other states'RRT programs. Accordingly, we are requesting $500,000 in grant funds for each of the next two years. This would augment current CDPH capabilities and provide the necessary infrastructure to conduct environmental investigations, tracebacks, and enforcement activities during food and feed emergencies, thereby improving our readiness to act in emergencies. Funding would also allow us to obtain the necessary training to sharpen our internal skill set, improve the availability of critical resources, increase information sharing among federal, state and local agencies, improve on succession planning and sustain the RRT beyond this grant period. An inability to develop and sustain California's RRT program would be detrimental to the state's Food Safety Program and would have national repercussions. California is the nation's largest producer of many important agricultural commodities including dairy, leafy greens, fruit, vegetable, and nut crops. A crisis impacting those commodities would negatively impact millions of consumers in California, the nation, and the world. This has been demonstrated by past national foodborne illness outbreaks that were traced back to California such as the 2006 E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks associated with spinach and lettuce that resulted in thousands of illnesses (when considering under-reporting). The economic impact of such food emergencies can cost hundreds of millions of dollars due to decreased demands for food commodities because of loss of consumer confidence in the food supply.
An All Food Hazards Rapid Response Team Project Narrative The main goal of the proposed project is to further develop, enhance, and sustain the California Food Emergency Response Team (CalFERT) through short and long-term interagency collaborations, and continued extensive cooperation and coordination with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) other state and local agencies, and industry partners. These activities are intended to further enhance the State's Food Safety Program and its ability to respond to food/feed emergencies and better align it with a national integrated food safety system. Achieving the goal will better protect and improve the health of the public by assuring that foods/feed commodities are safe and are not adulterated.