Contamination of feed for food producing animals or food for companion animals not only can harm animals, but can also cause residues that can harm people. For example, in the melamine food outbreak of 2007, detection of melanine in pet food preceded detection of the same in infant formula which sickened and killed children in China. Therefore, rapid detection of toxins in animal food/feed can protect public health. The melamine food outbreak of 2007 revealed many deficiencies in veterinary diagnostic laboratory capacity to rapidly detect and quantify food contamination during emergency outbreaks. This led to founding, 6-7 years ago, of Vet-LIRN, a network of Federal, State, and University Laboratories whose function is to catalyze the development of new and rapid tissue-based analytical techniques, provide for well-equipped and well-staffed facilities, improve the effectiveness of partnerships to coordinate food safety and defense resources to reduce the incidence of foodborne illnesses, and to increase communication among network labs. The Iowa State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (ISU VDL) is a founding member and an avid supporter and participant in network activities. Whereas this has broken down the ?silo? mentality of individual labs and improved communication, a lot more remains to be done to protect animal health and public health. This project proposal has two Specific Aims:
Specific Aim #1 : Capacity building of the ISU Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. To improve readiness of our laboratory we need to keep our equipment and staff in a ?ready? mode to quickly and efficiently respond to VPO?s calls. We propose to purchase equipment, pay for service agreements, fund travel for our laboratory personnel to attend FDA meetings and continuing education, maintain our participation in Vet-LIRN activities such as inter-laboratory proficiency testing exercises. We will support surge capacity testing during large scale animal food/feed emergency events and participate in short-term surveillance and related activities identified by the VPO. We will also participate in inter-laboratory validation of tests originating from other labs.
Specific Aim #2 : To develop and validate tissue-based diagnostic method(s) for diagnosis of sodium monofluoroacetate rodenticide intoxication in animals. Intentional contamination of food for food animals by this rodenticide can harm both the health of the animals and the economy of agricultural states like Iowa. The US government has identified sodium monofluoroacetate as a priority pesticide for research because: a) It potentially could to be used as a chemical weapon, and b) There is no antidote to it and it is associated with a high mortality and high morbidity rates both in humans and animals. The knowledge gap, which is a major concern and is to be addressed by this proposal, is that rapid tissue-based diagnostic methods for this toxicant are lacking. The ISU-VDL will lead the effort to develop tissue-based analytical methods based on common technology platforms ie HPLC fluorescence and/or Ion Chromatography. We propose to conduct both intra-lab-and inter-lab validation of tissue-based analytical methods developed from this proposal. If funded, the ISU VDL will maintain full functionality as a Vet-LIRN laboratory, with readiness to contribute to the FDA mission in fulfilment of requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act.
This project will lead to rapid diagnosis of food-borne animals diseases caused by poisons and contaminants. Food-borne chemical contaminants are a threat to public health if they are not diagnosed early because chemical residues may enter the food chain and harm people and companion animals.