Project Summary/AbstractNorth Carolina is a rapidly growing state, currently ranked ninth in the nation in population. The North CarolinaDepartment of Agriculture & Consumer Services, Food and Drug Protection Division (FDPD) has the regulatoryand jurisdictional authority to ensure public health of this population, including protection from threats in thefood supply chain at manufacturing through distribution to retail. The Rapid Response Team program is aninstrumental part of the food protection process. North Carolina has been an RRT state since the program'sinception in 2009 and we are proposing a 2 year project that will enhance our existing food safety and defenseactivities. The focus of this proposal is to continue strengthening response efforts by engaging our partneragencies in exercises and trainings to improve the capabilities of an integrated food safety system. We havesuccessfully integrated partner regulatory agencies into the RRT which consist of following: FDPD FoodProgram, Feed Program, Dairy Program and Laboratory, North Carolina Department of Health and HumanServices (Epidemiology and Environmental Health sections), NCDA&CS (Emergency Programs, Meat &Poultry, Public Affairs), and the FDA District. Under this cooperative agreement proposal we will conduct anexercise concerning an intentional contamination event to test the capabilities of our response systems. Theexercise will use an Incident Command Structure to rapidly identify and effectively respond to thecontamination event and removal of contaminated or adulterated food from commerce. This exercise willhighlight how an integrated response to an all-hazards food emergency can be successfully mitigated by theengagement of all partner agencies. RRT competency curriculum workshops will help identify and defineknowledge, skills, and abilities for RRT personnel. The end product will be a tool to help train RRT personnel,plus a best practice which can be used to support national program improvement for other RRTs. Theprogress the NC RRT has made through the years allows us to focus on improving the maturity andmaintenance of our program as we strive to steadily augment sustainability plans.