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Virginia's FDA FERN Cooperative Agreement Proposal


<p>Purpose/Abstract: The Virginia Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services (DCLS) serves the Commonwealth of Virginia as the State laboratory providing essential testing in support of foodborne disease surveillance and emergency outbreak response. Virginia DCLS has and continues to use both state and federal funds to strengthen and enhance its ability to rapidly and accurately provide laboratory testing services in support of foodborne outbreaks and product recalls. Despite Virginia's proven track record for providing exceptional laboratory testing services through the participation in FERN surveillance assignments, proficiency testing and method development initiatives strengthening of the program is still needed. This proposal identifies key resources necessary for DCLS to build upon its existing program in order to improve its capability and capacity to rapidly and accurately respond to issues of food safety and food security. Improvements in Virginia's laboratory through the strengthening of the FERN laboratory scientific team will concomitantly position DCLS to provide comprehensive testing services for statewide outbreaks and surge testing support for national outbreaks as requested by federal partners such as FDA and the FERN. With the requested grant funds, DCLS proposes to hire key microbiological and molecular personnel to be trained and dedicated to implementing FERN methods, to obtain essential analytical instrumentation and to purchase supplies to support FERN emergency outbreak and surge capacity testing needs. DCLS agrees to participate in required training, surveillance and proficiency testing activities as requested by the FERN. DCLS will evaluate novel analytical methodologies to support and expand existing FERN methods in order to improve sensitivity and specificity of pathogen detection and recovery. DCLS will provide analytical testing services to FERN NPO through participation in surveillance and food emergency outbreak testing. In the event of large-scale microbiological contamination events affecting foods or food products, DCLS agrees to volunteer to assist the other cooperative agreement laboratories with performing selected microbiological analyses of domestic and imported food samples collected and supplied by the FDA or other government agencies through FDA. DCLS will perform standardized methods and generate quality controlled and assured analytical data incompliance with regulatory requirements as requested by FDA NPO. DCLS will also engage in studies aimed at the development, validation and matrix extension of methods in collaboration with FERN NPO.</p>

Toney, Denise M
Virginia Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services
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