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FDA FERN Microbiological Cooperative Agreement Program

Fedio, Willis M
New Mexico State University
Start date
End date

Project Summary: Since 1999, the Food Safety Laboratory (FSL), Center for Animal Health, Food Safety, and Biosecurity (The Center) at New Mexico State University (NMSU) has worked closely with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Office of Field Science on a variety of food safety and defense assignments. We are tasked by FDA to evaluate, analyze and validate rapid test methods. We have improved many Bacteriological Analytical Manual (BAM) methods and provided validation data for rapid methods that have been implemented by FDA Regional Laboratories. FDA has also distributed improvements in analytical methods to Food Emergency Response Network (FERN) member laboratories. We are directly involved in many of the FERN mission objectives. We provide laboratory outreach with New Mexico State University agricultural programs to growers and food processors. We have demonstrated experience in method development and validation. Through the New Mexico Cooperative Extension Service Programs, we provide training to growers and food processors in food safety and defense. We perform regular proficiency testing and validation with BAM and new rapid test methods. When requested, we participate in surveillance activities. We are a member of the Electronic Laboratory Exchange Network (eLEXNET) Program for electronic communications. When we were selected as a FERM MCAP lab, we increased our capabilities and hope to continue to serve the FERN program in detecting and identifying threat agents in food at the local, state, and federal levels and be a service to the nation. As a FERN CAP lab, we intend to continue to:

  1. Develop proficiency in the equipment received from the CAP
  2. Hire an additional microbiologist to conduct analytical work alongside the existing laboratory staff
  3. Obtain appropriate training for laboratory staff
  4. Participate in all FDA/FERN activities as requested by the FERN National Program Office (NPO)
Funding Source
Food and Drug Administration
Project source
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Project number
Legislation and Regulations
Food Defense and Integrity
Natural Toxins
Viruses and Prions
Bacterial Pathogens
Chemical Contaminants
Antimicrobial Resistance