/ Proposal Abstract The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) is seeking funding from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration under RFA-FD-13-006 to support the department's Rapid Response Team (RRT) Implementation and Continuation Project. The amount of funding requested is $900,000. The VDACS Office of Dairy and Foods, Food Safety &Security Program meets all requirements to be eligible for this funding. The program serves as the state's manufactured food regulatory program and has a current FDA food safety inspection contract. In 2009 the Food Safety &Security Program was awarded funding as one of the original 9 Rapid Response Team states under PA-090183. . Funding received under these previous cooperative agreements was utilized to create a functional and integrated Rapid Response Team within the Commonwealth of Virginia including representation from Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Virginia Department of Health, the Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services, the FDA Baltimore District Office, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. All of the agencies listed above participate in weekly calls where each provides an update on any on-going or emerging issues impacting food safety and/or security within the Commonwealth of Virginia. Issues brought up on the calls are discussed by all participants and a course of future action is agreed upon by the group. Discussion about the event continues via the weekly calls and additional email communications until the situation has been successfully resolved. These calls and the other communication procedures developed under the previous funding source have enabled Virginia to significantly increase the speed and efficiency of foodborne outbreak response. Additionally, funding from the previous cooperative agreements was utilized to conduct a detailed self assessment of our agency's Manufactured Food Regulatory Program and to develop an improvement plan to bring us closer to full compliance with all ten Standards within the MFRPS including Standard 5, which is aligned with the deliverables of this cooperative agreement. Funding provided by the new RFA will be utilized to continue the development of the RRT concept by implementing procedures geared towards integrating the food safety response by all programs operating with the Commonwealth including local, state, and federal partners. Additionally, funds will be utilized to produce scenarios and exercises to test the capability and functionality of RRT concepts developed within the Commonwealth. We will also continue work on the development and review of the RRT Best Practices Manual. Finally, any funding received will be used to aid in the process of mentoring funded and non-funded states looking to adapt RRT capabilities.

Public Health Relevance

Food Protection Rapid Response Team and Program Infrastructure Improvement Implementation Project (U18) Project Narrative Funding provided to support the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services application for sustainment of the Virginia Rapid Response Team will be utilized to enable the state to maintain a functional RRT and to further efforts started during the original funding period geared towards improving the speed and efficiency with which foodborne outbreaks and other such emergencies are detected and mitigated within the Commonwealth of Virginia. The new cooperative agreement will allow the Food Safety &Security Program to enhance procedures meant to improve coordination between food safety professionals at the local, state, and federal levels and continue work towards a completely integrated Virginia food safety system. In addition, funding will allow for the continued development of new and unique strategies designed to address the five phases of food/feed incident response (preparedness, surveillance/detection, investigation, control/mitigation, and post- response/prevention). Whenever possible these strategies will be shared with other funded and non- funded programs working towards implementation of the RRT concept and will be included in publications such as the RRT Manual.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Research Demonstration--Cooperative Agreements (U18)
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VA State Department/ Agriculture & Consumer Services
United States
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