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Enhancing the Capacity and Capability of Human Food and Environmental Testing Laboratory at the Texas Department of State Health Services: Overall


Overall Project Summary
Laboratory Flexible Funding Model (PAR-20-105)
The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Laboratory Services Section
(LSS) works in conjunction with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the state regulatory body, DSHS Consumer
Protection Division (CPD), to ensure food and food products in Texas are safe. As a part of an
integrated food safety system, the goals of the LSS are to facilitate and improve food testing
surveillance, inspection, and investigation in the State of Texas.
With the funding provided by this grant, CPD will continue partnership with LSS by acting
as the LSS sampling organization. As part of the official sampling plan, LSS will test
approximately 500 samples per year under the Microbiology Human Food Product Testing track
for each year within the 5-year period of the grant. During the third year, an additional 100
chemistry samples will be added to the annual sampling plan under the Chemistry Human Food
Product Testing track. Although not a part of the official sampling plan, CPD will also collect 50
Radiochemistry samples annually test for the radioactive contamination along with identities of
radionuclides in human food product samples. Funding provided to cover sample collection
costs incurred during sample collection by CPD will only be used for costs associated with
samples collected under the Human Food Product Testing tracks.
LSS identifies hundreds of foodborne bacterial pathogen clusters each year by using
Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) and plans to annually sequence at least 400 Salmonella,
Listeria monocytogenes, Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) and other related bacterial
isolates from food and environmental samples from sources such as the FDA National
Antimicrobial Resistant Monitoring System (NARMS) meat program and universities with testing
and research laboratories. Currently, LSS does not perform qPCR screening for Salmonella.
The outcome of this project would enhance the capacity and capabilities of LSS by making this
new method available for routine surveillance testing on food/environmental samples in Texas.
LSS intends to facilitate data exchanges with FDA by enhancing both data systems to
enable the laboratory to submit sample analysis data via National Food Safety Data Exchange
integration or ORA Partner Portal adoption allowing for more expedient decisions/actions to
promote better public health.

Tanksley, Susan
Texas Department of State Health Services
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