SOURCE: Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL)
SILVER SPRING, MD--(Marketwire - Sep 19, 2012) - The Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) has been awarded a five-year cooperative agreement of up to $7.5 million by the Division of Federal-State Relations within the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to further the goals of the Food Safety Modernization Act. APHL will work collaboratively with the Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO) and the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) to strengthen and integrate food and feed testing laboratories for the advancement of public health.
The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), signed into law on January 4, 2011, provides FDA with tools to better protect public health by strengthening the food safety system. FSMA directs FDA to build an integrated national food safety system in partnership with state and local authorities, explicitly recognizing that all food safety agencies need to work together to achieve national public health goals. Associations such as APHL, AFDO, and AAFCO that represent, support, and guide state and local agencies and laboratories are in a unique position to effectively implement such FSMA mandates.
The new cooperative agreement will help prepare food and feed regulatory testing laboratories seeking to achieve, maintain, and enhance ISO/IEC 17025:2005 accreditation. Efforts to achieve laboratory accreditation will lay the foundation for national consensus on equivalency, acceptance of analytical data, and a framework for unified laboratory response to food or animal feed safety emergencies. Other objectives of the work under this proposal include: developing laboratory training programs around accreditation; reaching national consensus on the sharing of analytical data; improving communication among federal, state, and local testing laboratories and with their associated regulatory and public health programs; expanding a proficiency testing program for feed laboratories; and strengthening partnerships with clinical laboratories to improve the rapid submission of isolates to the public health system.
"State and local laboratories play a critical role in the identification, containment, and prevention of foodborne illness," said Shari Shea, director of the food safety program at APHL. "Effective leveraging of resources and harmonization of efforts will require extensive collaboration with relevant initiatives, such as the Partnership for Food Protection. We believe this Cooperative Agreement is an excellent and wise strategy to help advance this concept. The three collaborating Associations have a history of building relationships and forming consensus and will be able to leverage existing partnerships to achieve the stated goals."
The Association of Public Health Laboratories is a national non-profit located in Silver Spring, MD, that is dedicated to working with members to strengthen governmental laboratories with a public health mandate. By promoting effective programs and public policy, APHL strives to provide public health laboratories with the resources and infrastructure needed to protect the health of US residents and to prevent and control disease globally.