Sep 29, 2004 (CIDRAP News) Three federal agencies have signed a cooperative agreement with the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) to improve integration of state-federal responses to food and agricultural emergencies.
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) along with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) signed the agreement on Sep 23.
USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), FDA, and DHS's Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection Directorate are funding development of the integrated approach.
"Establishment of clear and consistent practices for combating threats to the food supply is a necessary prerequisite to the public health imperative of providing secure, safe and nutritious food for all Americans," said Dr. Lester Crawford, acting FDA director, in an FDA news release.
The process will include tabletop exercises and work groups aimed at developing best practices and guidelines, the news release said.
The cooperative agreement will proceed in three phases: a workgroup will gather information on existing procedures, then it will develop an interagency response plan, then the guidelines will be established. The planning process is expected to conclude in June 2005.