Within the Food and Feed Safety Division, the Rapid Response Team, is charged with investigating food safety issues that arise as part of foodborne illness outbreaks or problems identified in food or animal feed facilities in Minnesota. This team consists of technical experts in food manufacturing, food inspection, microbiology and epidemiology. In 2009, the Rapid Response Team worked on 18 foodborne illness investigations, 5 food product contamination investigations, and 3 natural disaster event responses.
Members of the Rapid Response Team work closely with the epidemiologists at the Minnesota Department of Health when people become sick from food. This team quickly traces contaminated foods back to their source to help identify the cause of an outbreak. The work of the Rapid Response Team was instrumental in helping to solve several large national outbreaks in recent years.
The team also works closely with inspectors in the division when a food facility in Minnesota has a microbiological contamination problem. Team members coordinate the investigation to identify the sources of contamination, if the contamination likely got into the food, and which food products may be subject to recall. This work is done quickly to prevent contaminated food from being sold and to ensure the citizens of the state are informed of any potentially contaminated food products that may be in their homes.
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Learn about the MDA's role in food safety as we follow three food inspectors through a routine day.