The complex challenges in the food safety arena require new, creative responses. However, no greater challenges exist than the ability to swiftly investigate and take appropriate measures to control foodborne outbreaks.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is backing long-term improvements to national integrated food safety through a cooperative grant program for State-level Food Protection Rapid Response Teams (RRTs).
The program aims to strengthen the link among epidemiology, lab and environmental health and regulatory organizations; and improves States’ regulatory and surveillance food and animal feed protection programs.
The RRTs are expected to develop collaborative relationships with each other to share best practices; and with other initiatives, such as the FDA Coordinated Outbreak Response and Evaluation (CORE) Network, FDA Food Protection Task Forces, CDC Foodborne Diseases Centers for Outbreak Response Enhancement (FoodCORE) Sites, CDC FoodNet, and CDC Environmental Health Specialists Network (EHS-Net).
It is expected that RRT development will take 3 years to complete. These State-level programs will be required to identify and implement processes to ensure that the core rapid response capabilities developed through these cooperative agreements are fully integrated into the existing system, outside of this funding, and can be sustained beyond the end of these cooperative agreements.
Further details are available via Funding Opportunity Announcement Number: RFA-FD-16-032.