The Connecticut Department of Public Health Laboratory is proposing to enhance its microbiological food testing capabilities. The long term goal is to obtain ISO/IEC 17025:2005 accreditation for our microbiological food testing laboratory. By obtaining this accreditation the laboratory will improve its quality assurance/ quality control for food testing resulting in better data for protecting the public health in outbreaks related to food borne pathogens. Additionally achieving ISO/IEC 17025:2005 accreditation will result in better food borne pathogen surveillance which will help to identify contaminated foods before an outbreak occurs. The essential features of this proposal are Identification of existing deficiencies in our existing microbiological food laboratory; Developing training materials for educating staffs on ISO/IEC 17025:2005 requirements; Modifying existing or creating new documentation such as SOPs and quality manuals that meet ISO/IEC 17025:2005 requirements; Monitor the process of achieving ISO/IEC 17025:2005 accreditation through our QA staff, and Participation in routine conference calls, meetings, etc. to share information with the food testing community
Research Strategy Relevance Recently, there have been several large multi-state outbreaks associated with tainted foods resulting in serious illness and death. Food testing methods used and quality assurance procedures can vary widely from laboratory to laboratory. The attainment of ISO/IEC 17025:2005 accreditation for all laboratories participating in testing will help to standardize food testing methods and provide data that is more reliable and has more legal merit, allowing epidemiologists and regulatory agencies to rapidly put into effect outbreak control measures and regulatory actions. Implementation of this accreditation requirement on a national level, including data sharing, will be the cornerstone of a nationwide food safety system.