Food Protection Rapid Response Team Program Infrastructure Improvement Implementation Project (U18)Project Summary/ Proposal AbstractThe Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) is seeking funding from the U.S.Food and Drug Administration under RFA-FD-15-020 to support the department's Rapid Response Team(RRT) Implementation and Continuation Project. The amount of funding requested is $600,000.The VDACS Office of Dairy and Foods, Food Safety Program meets all requirements to be eligible for thisfunding. The program serves as the state's manufactured food regulatory program and has a currentFDA food safety inspection contract. In 2009 the Food Safety Program was awarded funding as one ofthe original 9 Rapid Response Team states under PA-090183. Additional funding was received in 2013under RFA-FD-13-006.Funding received under these previous cooperative agreements was utilized to create a functional andintegrated Rapid Response Team within the Commonwealth of Virginia including representation fromVirginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Virginia Department of Health, theDivision of Consolidated Laboratory Services, the FDA Baltimore District Office, and the U.S. Departmentof Agriculture. All of the agencies listed above participate in weekly calls where each provides an updateon any on-going or emerging issues impacting food safety and/or security within the Commonwealth ofVirginia. Issues brought up on the calls are discussed by all participants and a course of future action isagreed upon by the group. Discussion about the event continues via the weekly calls and additionalemail communications until the situation has been successfully resolved. These calls and the othercommunication procedures developed under the previous funding source have enabled Virginia tosignificantly increase the speed and efficiency of foodborne outbreak response.Additionally, funding from the previous cooperative agreements was utilized to conduct a detailed selfassessment of our agency's Manufactured Food Regulatory Program and to develop an improvementplan to bring us closer to full compliance with all ten Standards within the MFRPS including Standard 5,which is aligned with the deliverables of this cooperative agreement.Funding provided by the new RFA will be utilized to continue the development of the RRT concept byimplementing procedures geared towards integrating the food safety response by all programsoperating with the Commonwealth including local, state, and federal partners. Additionally, funds willbe utilized to produce scenarios and exercises to test the capability and functionality of RRT conceptsdeveloped within the Commonwealth. We will also continue work on the development and review ofthe RRT Best Practices Manual. Finally, any funding received will be used to aid in the process ofmentoring funded and non-funded states looking to adapt RRT capabilities.