Texas performs analysis of foods both for regulatory purposes and to insure safe foodfor public consumption. In addition, analysis of foods and environmental samples areperformed in response to foodborne outbreaks. This grant would serve to strengthen ourstate's commitment to a safe food supply and improve the ability of DSHS to respond toa biological threat to the nation's food supply. As a grant recipient, Texas would use theFDA funding to leverage the groundwork already done and increase food testingcapacity. This groundwork includes the DSHS membership in the Centers for DiseaseControl (CDC) Laboratory Response Network (LRN). Texas is in a unique position todevelop large-scale food emergency event surge capacity using the existing network often public health laboratories, which are strategically placed in the state's public healthregions. The laboratory uses standardized methods developed for food testing, hasaccess to standardized equipment platforms and has the capacity for electroniclaboratory reporting. The DSHS laboratory currently participates in FDA and FERNproficiency testing. We have extensive quality management systems in place, and couldimplement additional systems as needed. The laboratory has experience in methoddevelopment and validation of food testing protocols. As methods are developed andvalidated, the DSHS laboratory could also expand the state's capacity for food testingtraining our LRN partners in performance of those methods. The laboratory currentlyhas staff with extensive expertise in real time PCR, analysis of pathogens,immunomagnetic separation, ELFA and ELISA techniques for food and environmentalsamples. In conclusion, the goal of this grant application is to improve DSHScollaborations with the FDA and FERN. If awarded this grant, Texas would welcome theopportunity to have substantive involvement by the FDA and FERN in theimplementation of this cooperative agreement. The grant would promote reliablecapability and capacity for the laboratory analysis of food and food products by the rapiddetection and identification of pathogenic microorganisms or bacterial toxins. Thistesting would support enhancement of the FERN in surge situations and surveillance offood samples.
The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Laboratory performs analysis of foods both for regulatory purposes and to insure safe food for public consumption. In addition, analysis of foods and environmental samples is performed in response to foodborne outbreaks. This grant would serve to strengthen our states commitment to a safe food supply and improve the ability of DSHS to respond to a large scale threat to the nation's food supply.