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FDA creates food emergency preparedness tool

An online tool developed by several branches of the U.S. government will help all stakeholders be ready in a food emergency


Silver Spring, Md. – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has made its Food Related Emergency Exercise Boxed Set publicly available online.

The FDA developed the tool, also known as FREE-B, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, and the Food Safety and Inspection Service.

The aim is to encourage all stakeholders to examine their food emergency response plans.

FREE-B is targeted to government and public health entities, the private sector, and emergency response teams.

The tool provides a set five scenarios that help all stakeholders find ways to collaborate and communicate on a variety of human- and animal-health related incidents.

By participating in any of the scenarios, stakeholders will:

• Cultivate professional skills by learning how to work with dynamic, ad-hoc teams facing critical food emergency incidents that threaten the safety of the public;
• Assess readiness (agency, facility, profession, department, authority, etc.) to effectively address a food contamination incident;
• Define roles and interactions with partners;
• Understand the purpose and objectives of federal, state, local and industry organizations and how each provides resources to address different aspects of food contamination scenarios; and/or
• Take appropriate, timely and effective steps to remediate emergency situations that are caused by intentional or unintentional acts.

FREE-B takes a whole-community approach to preparedness. The term whole-community refers to the need for cross-discipline preparedness training for large-scale incidents through regular exercise and training, evaluation and plan revision.