FDA FERN Microbiological Cooperative Agreement Program RFA-FD-12-018 Catalog of Federal Assistance Number: 93.448 Abstract Texas performs analysis of foods both for regulatory purposes and to insure safe food for public consumption. In addition, analysis of foods and environmental samples are performed in response to foodborne outbreaks. This grant would serve to strengthen our state's commitment to a safe food supply and improve the ability of DSHS to respond to a biological threat to the nation's food supply. As a grant recipient, Texas would use the FDA funding to leverage the groundwork already done and increase food testing capacity. This groundwork includes the DSHS membership in the FDA Rapid Response Teams and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Laboratory Response Network (LRN). Texas is in a unique position to develop large-scale food emergency event surge capacity using the existing network of ten public health laboratories, which are strategically placed in the state's public health regions. The laboratory uses standardized methods developed for food testing, has access to standardized equipment platforms and has the capacity for electronic laboratory reporting. The DSHS laboratory currently participates in FDA and FERN proficiency testing. We have extensive quality management systems in place, and are exploring obtaining ISO 17025 accreditation. The laboratory has experience in method development and validation of food testing protocols. As methods are developed and validated, the DSHS laboratory could also expand the state's capacity for food testing training our LRN partners in performance of those methods. The laboratory currently has staff with extensive expertise in real time PCR, analysis of pathogens, immunomagnetic separation, ELFA and ELISA techniques for food and environmental samples. In conclusion, the goal of this grant application is to improve DSHS collaborations with the FDA and FERN. If awarded this grant, Texas would welcome the opportunity to have substantive involvement by the FDA and FERN in the implementation of this cooperative agreement. The grant would promote reliable capability and capacity for the laboratory analysis of food and food products by the rapid detection and identification of pathogenic microorganisms or bacterial toxins. This testing would support enhancement of the FERN in surge situations and surveillance of food 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.