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Food Protection Rapid Response Team


<p>Summary/Abstract: The Department of State Health Services (DSHS) meets all criteria for eligibility of funding under this grant. The program serves as the state's manufactured food regulatory program and has a current FDA food safety inspection contract. In 2009, the Food Safety and Security Program was awarded funding under Grant #1U18FD003835-01 (Food Protection Rapid Response Team and Program Infrastructure Prototype Project) and continues under Cooperative Agreement1U18FD0038535-4. DSHS programs include the cooperative programs for milk and dairy, seafood, and retail foods. DSHS also has responsibility for the state cooperative meat program with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The state laboratory for food samples and human specimens (in the case of an outbreak) is a part of DSHS. Additionally, state epidemiologists who respond to food borne illness outbreaks are in DSHS' Division for Disease Control and Prevention. Funding received under the first award was used to establish the TRRT, comprised of DSHS (for food), the Office of the Texas State Chemist (OTSC for feed), the FDA Dallas District Office(DALDO), the FDA Southwest Region, and the Southwest Import District (SWID). The TRRT is built upon the Incident Command System (ICS) structure, with a unified command structure with DSHS, OTSC and FDA staff collaboratively manning all positions. Federal, state and local agencies have all played a role in past food-borne illness responses, however, the ICS structure for the TRRT has greatly enhanced these efforts and led to significant improvement in our response and mitigation efforts. During the four year RRT grant period (2009 to 2013), the TRRT has:
<li>Fully activated to respond to Salmonella agona in papayas (Summer 2011);</li>
<li>Completed a table top exercise with all partners (April 2012), including after-action report;</li>
<li>Completed a full exercise with all partners (December 2012) including after-action report;</li>
<li>Ensured that all Command and General Staff have received training on ICS 100, 200, 300 and 400;</li>
<li>Ensured that all deployable staff have received training on ICS 100 and 200 at a minimum and working on training all deployable staff up to 300;</li>
<li>Developed, implemented and refined a Response Operating Guide as well as Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for training, communications, and activation/deactivation.</li></ol>
Other SOPs are in various stages of development. Over the next three year grant period, DSHS proposes to continue its mentorship with other states' RRTs; coordinate outbreak response with local health departments that have jurisdiction over retail sales of food; establish communication protocols with food industries in Texas; further develop SOPs and embed TRRT responsibilities into the day to day activities of the state staff. Additionally DSHS will undertake a capability assessment each year and develop and update an improvement plan for the TRRT. DSHS will schedule and conduct at least one exercise or respond to an incident, including after action reviews each year. DSHS will participate in the development and refinement of the RRT Best Practices Manual and post required documents on FOODSHIELD and on applicable DSHS webpages.</p>

Loera, Julie
Texas Department of State Health Services
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