The California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory System (CAHFS), within the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California - Davis, is uniquely qualified to participate in a cooperative agreement with the Veterinary Laboratory Response Network (VetLRN). Disease detection and bacterial pathogen identification are critical components of our diagnostic mission. As an accredited member of the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians (AAVLD), CAHFS adheres to rigorous standards and strict performance monitoring required for certification by this organization. We utilize established and validated standardized operating procedures (SOP's) to perform specimen processing;microbial testing; and secure results reporting to ensure we are providing timely and accurate results to our submitters and stakeholders. In our role as a food safety testing facility, we are adept at processing and evaluating a variety of animal foods and feeds as well as food products intended for human consumption for bacterial pathogens. Our experience with both classical and molecular methods to detect foodborne bacterial agents and potential pathogens could be extremely beneficial to the VetLRN in both small-scale and large-scale food intoxication events. These qualifications align well with the mission of the VetLRN and will strengthen the FDA's ability to recognize and respond to an animal food or product contamination event. The recent outbreak of human illnesses that were associated with exposure to potentially Salmonella- contaminated pet food highlights the possible widespread health issues that can arise from an animal feed product contamination. We recognize the critical role that the VetLRN plays in recognizing and responding to these types of events, and we welcome the opportunity to expand this working relationship.
The Veterinary Laboratory Response Network (VetLRN) will help to ensure rapid recognition of and response to an animal food/feed/product bacterial or toxic contamination event. Through the established procedures and technical expertise used in the laboratory facility to conduct bacteriological testing, the California Animal Health and Food Safety Lab System (CAHFS) will provide diagnostic support to assist the VetLRN in its goals. Detection of potential pathogens in food matricies through testing conducted at CAHFS will help to minimize the detrimental effects on animals consuming these materials as well as prevent bacterial diseases in humans exposed to affected animals or their food products.