The Washington Department of Health Public Health Laboratories (WAPHL) operates a comprehensive environmental radiation laboratory with advanced radiation emergency response capability, including procedures for measuring radiological contamination in foods. Food safety and security are essential components to public health as well as commerce in Washington State. Washington is a large agricultural food producer and has several major ports which are active in food importing and exporting. From the ports, food is shipped throughout the Unites States, as well as the Pacific Rim and other parts of the world. The ultimate objectives of this application are: Maintain expertise in radiological food testing at the Washington State Radiation Laboratory; maintain capacity to process a large number and wide variety of samples quickly and accurately; strengthen existing collaborative partnerships with FDA and other FERN laboratories strengthening the Integrated Food Safety System, maintain expertise in keeping radioanalytical instrumentation in good working order, and; modify or develop rapid radioanalytical procedures to analyze foodstuffs. This application will specifically be used to fund two radiochemists primarily to maintain expertise and capacity, to participate in surveillance and emergency response testing of foods, and as time allows, continue matrix extension studies for rapid analysis of beta-emitting strontium isotopes in foodstuffs.
This proposal addresses the need for increased analytical capacity and expertise in the event of radiological contamination of food, whether accidental or intentional, for the purpose of food defense and food safety. The Washington Public Health Laboratories will provide radioanalytical expertise through surge capacity testing and support analytical method development and method validation, resulting in standardized analytical methods.