January 3, 2012 : The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Food Defense Oversight Team would like to update our stakeholders about the Food Related Emergency Exercise Bundle (FREE-B, previously referred to as a “boxed set” and recently renamed “bundle”) – our newest food defense tool to help build, strengthen, and improve your existing capabilities to respond to human and animal health emergencies.
The Food Related Emergency Exercise Bundle or “FREE-B” is a compilation of scenarios based on both intentional and unintentional food contamination events. It is designed with the approach of assisting government regulatory and public health agencies in evaluating existing food emergency response plans, protocols, and procedures that may be in place, or those plans that are in the process of being revised or developed. The FREE-B is designed to allow for multiple jurisdictions and organizations (medical community, private sector, law enforcement, first responder communities, etc.) to ‘play’ with the host agency, or for an individual agency to test their own plans, protocols, and procedures independently.
The FDA’s Food Defense Oversight Team developed FREE-B in cooperation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). Additionally, numerous subject matter experts participated in various rounds of reviews and refinement of the FREE-B.
What’s Next With the FREE-B?
In September 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Food Defense Oversight Team, through a contract and a task order with the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), issued a request for proposals (RFP) to provide interested State, Local, Tribal or Territorial-based entities with strategic guidance and limited financial support to conduct one of the scenarios from the FREE-B portfolio.
The intent of the RFP is to provide FDA representatives an opportunity to participate, observe the FREE-B in action so that future iterations of the tool can be more in-line with our stakeholders needs. Additionally, the FDA will be using these opportunities to assist with development of food defense specific risk communications message templates.
The awardees of up to $5,000.00 to support day-of-event and limited lead-up planning assistance are:
State based recipients:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
Connecticut Department of Public Health
Georgia Department of Agriculture
Illinois Department of Public Health
Iowa Department of inspection and Appeals
Minnesota Department of Agriculture
New York State Department of Health /Michigan Department of Community Health
Virginia Department of Health
Local Public Health Agency:
Uncas Health District (Connecticut)
These exercises will be completed by June 2012 and FDA appreciates the time and effort put forth in all of the proposals that were received and we wish the awardees success with their exercises.