This project comprises the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development's continued effort to participate in the Food Emergency Response Network (FERN), by providing microbiological testing for up to 500 samples yearly. The FERN cooperative agreements are intended to target state, local, and tribal FERN labs to provide increased sample analyses in the event of food outbreaks or other large-scale food emergency events requiring surge capacity testing of implicated food samples. These samples could involve foods and/or environmental samples related to foods, and will be collected by Federal, State, or local agencies. Numbers of samples and scheduling of samples will be done by the FERN National Program Office (NPO) in coordination with State/Local lab authorities. Federal or State surveillance assignments will also be a source of samples for lab analysis. The goal is to ultimately address the increasing threat to food safety and security through both naturally occurring pathogen outbreaks and intentional microbiological terrorism efforts.
If chosen to be a continuing participant of the FDA FERN Cooperative Agreement Program, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development would commit to analyze up to 500 samples annually (utilizing standardized methods). These samples could be part of surveillance assignments as designated by FERN NPO;food emergency outbreak testing, in coordination with State analytical requirements, or large-scale food emergency event (outbreak or intentional contamination) requiring surge capacity.