The Rhode Island State Health Laboratory (RISHL) is a member of the FERN and as such, is committed to preparedness for detection and response to foodborne disease outbreaks. The laboratory seeks to maintain capability, augmented through participation in the first cycle of Microbiology Cooperative Agreement Program (FDA/FERN MCAP), through continued participation in the MCAP. With the support of this continuation award, the RISHL will maintain a staff trained on a variety of equipment platforms and protocols specified by the FDA and FERN, will participate in methods development and proficiency testing, will provide surge capacity for FDA food testing, and will agree to share all testing results with FDA / FERN through eLEXNET.
Assuring safety of the public food supply requires a robust capability for detecting foodborne disease pathogens during routine food sample testing and as part of foodborne disease outbreak investigations. The purpose of the proposed project is to maintain the food testing capability and capacity of the Rhode Island State Health Lab developed under the first MCAP funding cycle, and to provide food testing surge capacity for the FDA.