FDA Launches New System to Respond to Foodborne Illness Outbreaks

  • By: Staff Editor
  • Date: September 23, 2011
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As a result of the increasing outbreaks of foodborne illnesses among humans and animals in the recent past, the FDA has found it necessary to create a rapid response network to address the threats to public safety in a timely manner. To achieve this, the agency announced the creation of the FDA Coordinate Outbreak Response and Evaluation (CORE) Network.
According to the FDA, the CORE Network will comprise a multi-disciplinary team of epidemiologists, veterinarians, microbiologists, environmental health specialists, emergency coordinators, and risk communications specialists. These experts will work full time on outbreak prevention and response. The CORE team will be complemented by trained, experienced investigators in FDA field offices across the country. It will also coordinate closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the USDA.
Mike Taylor, the FDA Deputy Commissioner of food said:
“The CORE Network builds on the best practices FDA has already implemented in its outbreak response efforts and, in keeping with the reforms of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, CORE activities will learn from outbreaks to develop preventive systems, in an effort to reduce them from happening in the future.”
According to Taylor, CORE is expected to ensure greater consistency in monitoring and investigating outbreaks and streamline decision making and food safety practices.
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The network will not replace existing CDC programs and instead will help the agencies react faster and more efficiently.
Dara Corrigan, the associate commissioner of regulatory affairs said:
“The centralized staff of the CORE Network will work closely with FDA’s field emergency response coordinators and the investigative and analytical teams in the District offices and associated laboratories. Working together will help to both standardize and strengthen how we conduct foodborne outbreak activities in the field.”  
Former Maine state epidemiologist Dr. Kathleen F. Gensheimer will lead the new team. Dr. Gensheimer said in a statement: “A real benefit of the network approach is enhancing communication and coordination with federal, state and local food safety agencies, as well as industry and consumers.”  


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