- FL RRTThe Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumers Services, Division of Food Safety, haspositioned itself to continue implementation of a rapid response capability/network to measureand evaluate our various food safety programs to enhance our response to adverse food/feedincidents to mitigate the adverse impact of such incidents and prevention of the number offoodborne illnesses in the state of Florida, thereby improving the health of Floridians and ourmany visitors and exports. In March 2010, a report by the Produce Safety Project, an initiative ofthe Pew Charitable Trusts, ranked Florida fourth in the nation for number of foodborneillnesses. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions, states the number offoodborne illness cases are 82 million a year in the United States of which 4.9 million cases areattributed to Florida. With the funds awarded from this cooperative agreement, we would continue ourimprovement of our rapid response infrastructure to evaluate our practices and methods toensure effectiveness, then develop and implement our improvement plan and have adequatetechnology and knowledgeable staff to validate our goal to reduce the number of foodborneillnesses and reduce their damaging effects. We have recently rebuilt our InformationTechnology system in order to track and evaluate our strategies being effective, both in our foodinspection and laboratory systems; this effort is currently under Beta and User Testing foranticipated release date in the fall of 2013. The rebuild allows tracking capabilities of ouractivities and be able to handle external interfaces with our food safety partners in Florida whichinclude our Department of Health, Department of Business and Professional Regulations-Division of Hotels and Restaurants, the Food and Drug Administration and the US Departmentof Agriculture as well as other agencies involved in protecting the food supply in Florida. Wewould dedicate staff to oversee this endeavor with verifiable, documented results. We havecreated a Standard Operating Plan for Florida's Integrated Rapid Response Team (FLIRRT) anda Food Emergency Response Plan and plan to improve it and exercise the plan to ensure itfunctions as written. With this award we can continue to increase the knowledge of ourworkforce by applicable training and by supplying staff with current electronic technology tochart our activities and to respond rapidly to an adverse event to lessen the negative health andeconomic impact on the Florida community.
By the award of this cooperative agreement; Florida; in partnership with all state; federal andprivate food/feed stakeholders will continue to enhance our infrastructure and capabilitynetwork to respond rapidly and effectively to any adverse food/feed situation or any plannedevent involving food/feed safety or food/feed defense. Having pre-established; integratedworking relationships with functional; pre-determined plans and procedures that are exercisedwill allow an optimum and effective response and mitigation to an adverse incident. The healthof the public will be improved by our collaborated efforts to prevent and/or minimize adverseimpacts of intentional or unintentional food/feed incidents.