FDA FERN Microbiological Cooperative Agreement Program: Enhanced Food Safety and Security Testing Program Abstract: The stated goal of the Office of Regulatory Affairs (ORA)'s cooperative agreement program is 'to complement, develop, and improve State, local, and Indian tribal food safety and security testing programs.' Also stated is the desire to establish additional reliable laboratory sample analysis capacity, participation in method enhancement activities to extend current analytical capability, and analysis of surveillance samples and emergency outbreak samples. The Colorado laboratory has the necessary highly skilled and experienced staff to support both levels of testing assignments and staff have demonstrated an ability to identify and isolate microbiological contaminants present in foods and food products affecting a large population. The participation of the CDPHE Laboratory Services Division would enhance the Federal food safety and security program in the areas of surveillance of the fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy, meats, salsa, bottled water, beer, wine, jellies and jams, candy, and juice. The Laboratory Services Division has responded in emergency situations to local, regional and national cases of food contamination and produced positive findings within a short analytical turn-around time. Colorado is a FERN chemistry, microbiological and radiological member laboratory and has a solid working relationship with the Ute and Navajo Indian tribes through the CDPHE Office of Preparedness and Emergency Response and Department liaison. The Department has cooperative agreements with Federal agencies and surrounding States for Laboratory Preparedness and Emergency Response and supports a state-of-the-art, centrally located, responsive State Public Health and Environmental Laboratory that is part of both the Laboratory Response Network (LRN), Environmental Laboratory Response Network (eLRN) and FERN with a commitment to protecting the public's health and the environment. The laboratory is eager, experienced and well qualified to undertake this project.
The Laboratory Services Division of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is committed to surveillance of food and food products for the presence of pathogenic microorganisms that have the potential to cause widespread disease or outbreaks of foodborne illness. Laboratory scientists are well trained in food microbiology and molecular detection of foodborne agents making Colorado a significant participant in the testing and investigation of national outbreaks of foodborne illness.