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New Jersey Food Testing Program - Food Safety and Defense


New Jersey Food Testing Program - Food Safety and Defense (2020-2025): OverallAbstractThe New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) Public Health and Environmental Laboratories (PHEL) ispursuing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cooperative agreement program focused on improvingthe capability and capacity of NJ to maintain food safety in support of FDA priorities. This initiative is achievedby testing foods for microbiological, chemical, and radiological contaminants while further integrating the threeanalytical disciplines into a unified food testing program to effectively respond to any foodborne outbreaks andcontaminations. To address these tasks, NJDOH is proposing a New Jersey Food Testing Program (NJFTP)and committing to achieving the overall project goals of enhancing food defense in NJ and improving food testingcapabilities and capacity for NJFTP.Specifically, NJFTP will participate in: 1) triage exercises and surveillance activities, 2) national security events,3) testing associated with credible or suspected threats to food supply 4) other food defense/food safetyassignments and proficiency tests 5) training seminars, conferences, and teleconferences, and 6) group testing,functional exercises, and results reporting. Additionally, NJFTP proposes the following five initiatives to furthersupport and assist in its mission: 1) analyzing pre-packaged bags of lettuce for the presence of Escherichia coliO157/Shiga-toxin producing Escherichia coli (STEC) and Salmonella species with characterization of themicroorganisms by biochemical analysis and whole genome sequencing (WGS); 2) conducting WGS onhistorical Vibrio vulnificus and Vibrio parahaemolyticus isolates recovered from local clam and oyster harvests3) testing various commercially available food items collected from retail stores in NJ to survey microbiological(Francisella tularensis, Burkholderia sp., Brucella sp., Bacillus anthracis, Yersinia pestis), chemical (toxicelements, toxins/poisons, and pesticides), and radiochemical (low-level iodine-131, gamma emitters, Cs-137, I-131, and alpha/beta emitters such as Am/Pu and Sr-90) contaminants, 4) developing methods to expand thecapabilities to quantify pesticides in fruit- and vegetable-based beverages and low-level I-131 in milk, and 5)expand sample throughput capacity throughout PHEL.The test results will be relayed to the FDA and other regulatory agencies to initiate investigations and removepotentially harmful products from the market. By conducting the work detailed in this proposal and managing anintegrated food safety system, NJDOH will be able to expand its food defense activities while further safeguardingpublic health and supporting FDA priorities by providing our federal and State partners with critical microbial,chemical, and radiological contaminant data they can use to enhance their own food defense practices.

Fan, Zhi-hua Tina
New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services
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