Food Protection Rapid Response Team Project MSDH- Office of Food Protection RFA-FD-12-013The Mississippi State Department of Health Office of Food Protection (MSDH OFP), with thecollaboration of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), will develop, implement, and evaluatea Rapid Response Team specific to manufactured foods in the state. It will utilize existing stateinfrastructure and emergency response capabilities to build upon and will form a cohesiveexpertly trained group of responders with a variety of expertise.Team members will include food and feed field inspectors and program specialists,epidemiologists, laboratorians and emergency response personnel. Industry specific trainingswill be sought for team members, choosing those processes with the highest risk to the publicfor foodborne illness. Examples of these would be acidified foods, seafood, and ready-to-eatraw agricultural products.Objectives for the RRT are as follows: Develop, train and exercise an RRT Provide trainings for local and regional manufactured food and feed field inspectors for best practices in outbreak investigation Utilize communication and improved information access in order to improve recall and market withdrawal of food and feed products Implement product sampling for surveillance of food and feed products based on identified risk factors of operationsMethods for achieving these goals involve enhancing staff development for the RRT members(Standard #2), who will then share best practices with local field inspectors. Specifically, highrisk product evaluation, recall procedures and manufactured food/feed illness outbreakinvestigations (Standard #5) will be the priority. This will also include evaluating samplingpolicies (Standard #10) and procedures and providing staff with the equipment and supplies(Standard #8) they need to effectively reduce the risk of manufactured food/feed illnessoutbreaks through active managerial control.Outreach to industry and the community (Standard #7) will also play an integral part of this plan,through presentations and after-action findings reports.
The development of a Rapid Response Team for MSDH OFP will improve the preparedness and continuity of operations for a manufactured food or feed illness outbreak or recall effort. Improving the skills and capabilities of inspectors creates a 'preventive'program, rather than a 'reactive'one.