A Food Emergency Response Plan (FERP) establishes a uniform foundation in order to minimize the impact of an unintentional or deliberate incident related to a state's food supply. The purpose of this plan will be to identify how Virginia will respond in coordination with federal, local and state agencies and the private sector to prepare for a rapid response to significant threats to food safety and public health. The plan stresses local, state and federal interagency involvement and will assign specific roles and responsibilities for a response according to the nature of the particular incident. This project will help to build a foundation of effective and coordinated communication and efficient processes among the agencies federal, state and local partners. Virginia will conduct annual evaluations to ensure the continued accuracy of the plan. VDH and VDACS will annually compare planned responses with actual experience. If within an evaluation year, there are no actual experiences, the plan or sections of the plan will be tested using tabletop and functional exercises. Virginia will develop strategies for achieving and sustaining a response plan that can be duplicated and shared with other regulatory state agencies.
A Virginia Food Emergency Response Plan, which is the intended outcome of this funding opportunity, will ensure that the Commonwealth of Virginia will develop training, exercises and written Standard Operating Procedures on responding to a food/feed emergency in Virginia. Virginia's ability to respond quickly and appropriately to a food/feed emergency is of utmost importance when it comes to the protection of the citizens of the Commonwealth.