The National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) submits the following proposal for your consideration through "Building the Capacity of Food Safety Entities to Protect Public Health in Response to a Notification under Section 1008 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic (FD&C) Act or a Recall of Foods" (U18) Cooperative Agreement Program. Funding Opportunity Announcement Number RFA-FD-12-026 (hereafter, Capacity Building Announcement). NEHA strongly believes that a central tenant to achieving improved foodborne illness detection and response is enhanced communication, cooperation and coordination between regulators and the retail food establishments that have direct contact with food products and the public. In collaboration with industry partners, NEHA has developed and presented several one-day, face-to-face workshops, Industry-Foodborne Illness Investigation Training (I-FIIT). The workshop is designed to clarify and expedite investigation response by identifying industry and public health roles and responsibilities, establishing and implementing control measures based on best practices and briefly covering recall actions. NEHA seeks assistance in the amount of $100,000 per year (for a total of three years) under this agreement to revise and restructure its current I-FIIT workshop to integrate a stronger focus on response to unsafe foods and enhanced capacity to handle recalls effectively with practical application of recall activities utilizing FDA's FREE-B case studies and tabletop exercises. The revised course will be referred to hereafter as I-FIIT-Recall Response (I-FIIT-RR) workshop. A needs assessment to industry and regulators will be undertaken to determine a baseline of recall and traceback knowledge and experience and identify gaps to be addressed in the revised training curriculum. The updated training will be offered at NEHA's Annual Education Conference, to be held in Washington DC in June, 2013. Additional trainings at select food safety conferences and a Train the Trainer (TtT) component to ensure long-term sustainability of the program would be provided in subsequent years if funding allows.
The proposed training model will provide a framework to enhance cooperation between regulators and the food industry to quickly determine the source, locate the product in question and rapidly deploy effective recall measures, actions so critical to protecting the public in response to unsafe food.