Food Protection Rapid Response Team Project MSDH- Office of Food Protection RFA-FD-12-013 The Mississippi State Department of Health Office of Food Protection (MSDH OFP), with the collaboration of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), will develop, implement, and evaluate a Rapid Response Team specific to manufactured foods in the state. It will utilize existing state infrastructure and emergency response capabilities to build upon and will form a cohesive expertly trained group of responders with a variety of expertise. Team members will include food and feed field inspectors and program specialists, epidemiologists, laboratorians and emergency response personnel. Industry specific trainings will be sought for team members, choosing those processes with the highest risk to the public for foodborne illness. Examples of these would be acidified foods, seafood, and ready-to-eat raw agricultural products. Objectives for the RRT are as follows: Develop, train and exercise an RRT Provide trainings for local and regional manufactured food and feed field inspectors for best practices in outbreak investigation Utilize communication and improved information access in order to improve recall and market withdrawal of food and feed products Implement product sampling for surveillance of food and feed products based on identified risk factors of operations Methods for achieving these goals involve enhancing staff development for the RRT members (Standard #2), who will then share best practices with local field inspectors. Specifically, high risk product evaluation, recall procedures and manufactured food/feed illness outbreak investigations (Standard #5) will be the priority. This will also include evaluating sampling policies (Standard #10) and procedures and providing staff with the equipment and supplies (Standard #8) they need to effectively reduce the risk of manufactured food/feed illness outbreaks through active managerial control. Outreach to industry and the community (Standard #7) will also play an integral part of this plan, through presentations and after-action findings reports.
The development of a Rapid Response Team for MSDH OFP will improve the preparedness and continuity of operations for a manufactured food or feed illness outbreak or recall effort. Improving the skills and capabilities of inspectors creates a 'preventive'program, rather than a 'reactive'one.