This proposal is submitted collaboratively by the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL), the Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO), and the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). The purpose of the collaboration is to further the goals of the Food Safety Modernization Act by facilitating long-term improvements to the national food and animal feed safety system. The overall goal is to strengthen and integrate a community of food and feed testing laboratories for the advancement of public health. The three Associations are uniquely qualified to perform this work because their mission is to represent and support the multi-disciplinary laboratories that perform food and animal feed testing in support of regulatory programs, surveillance efforts, and outbreak investigations. Specific objectives of the work include: management of support programs to facilitate ISO/IEC 17025:2005 accreditation of member laboratories;establishment of equivalency between federal, state, and local food and feed testing laboratories;reaching national consensus on the acceptance and better sharing of analytical data;identification of a national framework for a unified laboratory response to food or animal feed safety emergencies;improvements in communication among federal, state, and local testing laboratories and with their associated regulatory and public health programs;providing a proficiency testing program for feed laboratories;and strengthening partnerships with clinical laboratories to improve the sharing of samples and information. Achieving these objectives will require extensive collaboration and coordination of the three Associations, with federal partners, and with a wide range of stakeholders. The methods to be employed to reach these objectives include identification of model programs and processes; pilot testing of new approaches;organization of national and regional forums and focus groups; development of working groups, resource repositories, and Subject Matter Expert registries; delivery of formal training sessions and other adult learning opportunities (in collaboration with the International Food Protection Training Institute);and utilization of the existing committee infrastructure of each Association. Measurement of success will be against stated metrics, written and refined in consultation with the funding agency.
The purpose of this collaboration between the Association of Public Health Laboratories, the Association of Food and Drug Officials, and the Association of American Feed Control Officials is to further the goals of the Food Safety Modernization Act by strengthening and integrating the community of food and feed testing laboratories. Efforts to achieve laboratory accreditation to the ISO/IEC 17025:2005 standard will lay the foundation for national consensus on equivalency, acceptance and sharing of analytical data, and a framework for unified laboratory response to food or animal feed safety emergencies. By facilitating long-term improvements to the national food and animal feed safety system, the work completed through this collaboration will advance public health initiatives and improve the safety of the US food supply.