The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) stages its feed program relative to capabilities that active partners in an integrated national food safety system should possess and concludes that without laboratory capability to detect pathogens such as Salmonella and E.coli 0157:H7 in feed, especially direct human contact feeds, it cannot contribute the data required to participate in a modern food safety and public health system focused on prevention. WSDA proposes laboratory improvements to cure this deficiency. WSDA finds the discovery value of on-farm inspections to be very high but notes that these inspections cannot be done without FDA authority. WSDA describes how even very very low probability events are significant for prion diseases due to pre-clinical infectivity, long incubation periods and 100% mortality in animals and humans. WSDA describes Washington State's vulnerability to BSE agent release from imported Canadian cattle in age cohorts shared by the ongoing BSE positives identified by Canadian BSE surveillance. WSDA discusses BSE consumer perception and BSE rule complacency challenges resulting from the United States'absence of detected native classical BSE animals and the perception that the two detected atypical BSE native animals are without relevance to feed ban compliance. WSDA identifies the highest BSE risk materials, CMPAF from imported Canadian cull dairy cattle, and proposes innovative approaches to assess CMPAF handling in non-FDA regulated firms. WSDA describes economic, cultural and environmental drivers that encourage increased use of agricultural and food processing waste as animal feed and proposes inspection, sampling and educational activities to address feed and fomite disease transmission potential. WSDA responds to curriculum gaps expressed by Washington State Agricultural Educators, and confirmed by resource searches, by proposing the development of ready-to-use feed safety/BSE instruction modules that meet public instruction Essential Academic Learning Requirements in the areas of science and mathematics. One WSDA staff has a BS in Agriculture with an Agriscience and Education option. She is experienced and qualified to develop these instruction modules. WSDA submits signed letters of collaboration from the Washington State Department of Ecology, Seattle King County Public Health and the Washington Association of Agricultural Educators. WSDA provides detailed information describing inspections, sampling, laboratory equipment and proficiencies, staff training, staff experience and qualifications, inventory lists of firms available for inspection, and, interactions with FDA. Sustainable work plans, infrastructure improvements, staffing levels and all other areas required to be addressed in the Funding Opportunity Announcement are described and supported by budget tables and narratives.
Washington State Department of Agriculture Project Narrative Feed Safety and BSE/Ruminant Feed Ban Support Project (U18), RFA-FD-10-002 Units of instruction, including lesson plans and educational materials for use in middle and high school agriculture education classes will be developed, tested and refined. This will be accomplished in collaboration with the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, WA Agriculture Education Association (WAAE) and the Washington State University Agriculture Education Program. These lessons potentially have long-term sustainable national impact because they can be used outside the state of Washington and may play a positive role in a student's career choice. Currently there are no secondary education classroom ready materials available covering feed safety. There is a growing Green mentality in Washington state. A new industry is developing to assist other businesses in reducing and recycling as much food waste as possible. In collaboration with Washington State Department of Ecology, firms considering diverting materials from the waste stream destined for landfills to animal feed will be educated about precautions to assure the diversion is safe. Public Health officials are becoming more concerned about Salmonella and other pathogens in pet treats and pet food - especially uncooked or partially cooked products. WSDA will develop a routine testing program for Salmonella and E. coli O157:H7 during the first three years of this cooperative agreement. During the fourth and fifth years additional pathogens may be added. The Public Health Veterinarian/Epidemiologist with the Environmental Health Services of Seattle and King County (WA) has offered to provide input to WSDA on the types of potentially hazardous pet foods sold in the Seattle / King County area. Unconventional feed ingredients from food processing plants, recycled materials and imported feed sources will be characterized with respect to levels of elemental metals and prevalence of Salmonella and E. coli O157:H7. Additionally several conventional feeds will be analyzed for elemental metals. This will aid FDA in filling knowledge gaps in regards to the safety of these products To gain maximum compliance and achieve the greatest food / feed safety all visits with industry will require a facultative approach, moving between regulatory and education. BSE inspection will expand and cover additional feed safety topics. Where regulatory authority and violations are clear, regulatory action can be pursued. In cases where regulatory authority is not clear or where potential issues are noted, extra time can be spent explaining why something is important and how to prevent feed safety issues. This approach is especially important during on-farm inspections. Additional training of feed inspectors and laboratory microbiologists listed in this proposal is well above the level of training that can be provided with current Washington State resources. The purchase of laboratory equipment and matrix expansion greatly expands the speed and capability of WSDA to screen for pathogens. This training and increased laboratory capacity and capabilities improves the program operation and will be sustainable beyond the duration of this cooperative agreement. WSDA's mission is to serve the people of Washington by supporting the agricultural community and promoting consumer and environmental protection. One of WSDA's major goals to accomplish this mission is to protect and reduce the risk to public health by assuring the safety of the state's food supply. Since feed safety contributes to the production of safe food, this project will help WSDA in fulfilling its mission and ultimate goal of keeping the food supply safe.