RFA-FD-12-013: Food Protection Rapid Response Teams Project Summary-Abstract for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services The state of Missouri has a long history of working cooperatively with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on food safety issues. The Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) applauds FDA's leadership position and dedication to developing an integrated food safety system. Each level of government-federal, state, and local, have very important roles and responsibilities in assuring that the food offered to the public is safety and wholesome. The system can only work at its best when all levels of government work together cooperatively. To that end, FDA's Rapid Response Team concept encourages collaboration with relevant food safety agencies under the most important of circumstances-emergency response to large-scale food safety events. The Rapid Response Team concept could be very beneficial if applied to Missouri. Missouri's retail food safety is decentralized;Local Public Health Agencies are responsible for routine inspections while DHSS is responsible for managing the state food code, providing training and technical assistance, and providing enforcement assistance when needed. Foods manufacturing regulatory authorities are divided between the DHSS food manufacturing regulatory program, the State Milk Board, and the Missouri Department of Agriculture's Meat and Poultry Inspection Program. In addition, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the FDA maintain jurisdictional authority over food manufacturers engaged in interstate commerce. Authority over feed products and their inspection is managed by the MDA Bureau of Feed, Seed, and Treated Timber. If the numerous agencies are to be successful in managing large scale food/feed emergency response events that vary in nature, communication and planning are essential. DHSS is requesting $300,000 annually for three years to address this need. Funding will be used to establish a program coordinator to direct Rapid Response Team activities, assist with travel and training expenses, and provide funds to relevant programs to ensure participation. Activities will be modeled after existing Rapid Response Team templates that have been successfully implemented in pilot states and will be guided by FDA visions in the development of an integrated food safety system.
Food safety is an issue that affects everyone. DHSS'proposal improves food safety in Missouri by ensuring agencies involved in the response of large-scale food safety issues collaborate and respond in accordance with pre-established plans. This leads to a greater understanding of everyone's role, improves communications, increases efficiency and ultimately leads to an improved response by all involved parties.