The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Office of Regulatory Affairs (ORA) has announced the availability of cooperative agreements to be awarded under Limited Competition to facilitate long-term improvements to facilitate long-term improvements to the national food safety system by building the capacity of state, local, tribal, and territorial food safety agencies to undertake examinations, inspections, and investigations and related food safety activities under section 702 of the FD&C Act. As a state food and feed regulatory entity, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is eligible to apply for this Cooperative Agreement. MDA seeks to improve capability and capacity to respond to foodborne illness outbreaks by developing innovative strategies to manage response to investigations that require product tracing or a traceback investigation to determine the source of an outbreak. This will be accomplished by establishing business requirements for a web-based tracebility system based on the needs of local, state, and federal food safety entities;conducting a baseline assessment and establishing metrics for assessing a traceback and outbreak response;measuring and comparing the responses pre- and post-system implementation;developing a web-based traceback system;developing training materials for investigation management using the system;completing a data exchange between the system and FDA;hosting a multi-jurisdictional tabletop exercise using the system;and disseminating a system implementation guide, associated training materials, and best practice guidance to other food safety entities across the nation. MDA is broadly engaged in state and national efforts to improve the food safety system. It will employ these partnerships with federal, state, and local food safety entities and academic institutions;professional associations (AFDO, IAFP, NEHA, among others); state initiatives like the Minnesota Food Safety and Defense Task Force;and national initiatives, including the FDA Rapid Response Teams and Partnership for Food Protection, to make these capability and capacity improvements and to share advances in these areas nation-wide.
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture seeks to improve capability and capacity to respond to food products that pose a serious public health threats by developing innovative strategies to manage food product tracebacks and coordinate these types of response with other food safety entities. This will be accomplished by creating a web- based platform where local and state public health entities can voluntarily share product tracing information and data to more rapidly detect the source of a foodborne illness outbreak. The advances gained through this Cooperative Agreement will allow federal, state, and local entities to more quickly and effectively to identify the source of a foodborne illness outbreak and ensure those foods are removed from the marketplace.