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FDA FERN Microbiology and Chemistry Cooperative Agreement Programs: Enhanced Food Safety


Enhanced Food Safety and Food Defense Capacity and Capability Utilizing existing chemistry equipment platforms, methods and personnel the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Laboratory will expand food defense and food safety capacity and expertise to advance an integrated food safety system. As a compliment to FERN National Program Office (NPO) required emergency surge capacity or other assignments, routine food surveillance will be conducted. Weekly sampling of a variety of food matrices will rotate to cover meats, fruits and vegetables, baby foods, beverages and ready to eat foods. Meats and avocados currently collected for microbiological analyses as part of the CDC/FDA NARMS program and the FDA High Volume Surveillance Activation Project will also be incorporated into the routine analyses of approximately 40 samples per month. New and unique food matrices encountered may serve as matrix extension projects. Through continual weekly usage of all the various platforms and methods organizational emergency preparedness and analyst competence will be optimized. Increasing staff expertise in LC- MS/MS, expanding the number of staff trained in sample extraction and the duplication of instrumental expertise are areas of focus. Funds provided to our newly created laboratory Quality Assurance Unit will aid in our efforts toward ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation. Direct and frequent communication with the FERN (NPO) will be maintained through participation in conference calls, attendance at National FERN meetings, electronic reporting of status updates and data transmission. A commitment to overall FERN Program improvement will be demonstrated through active involvement in assigned projects, proficiency tests, method validations and intra-laboratory planned research activities. MCAP: Enhanced Food Safety and Security Testing Program As a direct result of the funding provided throughout multiple award years to the MCAP at the Colorado laboratory solid foundations were established for enhanced microbiological and chemical testing. Key personnel will continue participation in the program assignment of analyzing avocado samples for the presence of Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes. Staff will continue to accept this product from domestic sources in support of the program. An early assessment of this program demonstrates a high level of success. Current plans include the continuation of this assignment and will add equivalent testing of imported product as assigned. Two new projects will be undertaken during the first year of the continuation award to enhance existing capabilities. A multicenter validation study that will be completed under current funding will be implemented to support current assignments and provide rapid and sensitive detection capabilities. Establishment of new detection methods will be combined with existing standard methods and applied to additional targets as defined by program directives. Examples currently under consideration for these matrix extensions are cucumbers and hot peppers. Use of these designated protocols will provide consistency of analytical findings as demonstrated through the positive outcomes of both proficiency tests and live assignments supported by the program to date. Colorado laboratory staff will engage in all activities proposed or assigned by the national program office in support of enhanced food safety. Ongoing support through this continuation award will provide greater return on investment as the Colorado laboratory operates as an extension of the national program for food safety.

Maguire, Hugh
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
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