The West Virginia Bureau for Public Health (WVBPH) and the West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVAg) will form a collaborative partnership called the West Virginia Food and Feed Rapid Response Team (WVRRT). The overarching goal of the team will be preventing and reducing illness. The WVRRT will include staff from WVBPH and WVAg which encompasses Food, Feed, Animal Health, Epidemiology, Labs, and the Office of Environmental Health Readiness Coordinator. The WVRRT will improve upon current programs, integrate emergency response plans, enhance capabilities of staff through joint training and develop methods of providing public and vendor education related to illness prevention. The WVRRT will enhance conformance with the Manufactured Foods Regulatory Program Standards. The WVRRT plans to hire a consultant to work with WVBPH and WVAg to bring together the capacities and capabilities of each partner. Each agency has regulations, policies and procedures in place with overarching goals for the prevention of disease. A consultant will pull best practices from each program and assist with the development of a multiagency response for any food or feed illness or threat. Other proposed work include food outbreak investigation training, food, feed, and environmental sampling training, as well as purchase required equipment and test kits, develop a database of manufacturers who sell by-product as animal feed and provide educational materials for the manufacturer and the farmer, coordinate and update agencies emergency response plans in relation to food and feed threats or outbreaks, and collect GPS data and develop GIS mapping of all feed and food manufacturers, warehouses, and distributors. The WVRRT will enhance the ability of WVBPH and WVAg to protect the health of humans and animals. Recognized cases of illness will be reduced through prevention and rapid response to outbreak and threats related to feed and food. All proposed team members are excited about the goals that this funding will bring to fruition.
The West Virginia Rapid Response Team (WVRRT) will enhance the ability of the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health (WVBPH) and West Virginia Department of Agriculture ( WVAg) to work jointly to improve capabilities for effective, rapid responses to feed and food emergencies. Improved collaboration and open communication will create an environment of shared goals and responsibility. Best practices from WVBPH and WVAg will be implemented in prevention of feed and food related illness.