The Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s (MDA) Rapid Response Team (RRT) has been recognized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its work in responding to foodborne illness outbreaks and other public health emergencies.
Due to the globalization and complexity of the food production system, the FDA launched a network of state-based Rapid Response Teams in 2008 to respond to human and animal food emergencies, such as the recent outbreak of Salmonella linked to pre-cut melons and last year’s E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce.
Minnesota is one of 21 states that have FDA-funded Rapid Response Teams. Since its inception in 2008, the MDA RRT has responded to over 400 outbreaks or other food safety incidents.
“Minnesota’s RRT has been on the front lines of many outbreaks to help pin down the source of the contamination and prevent further human illness,” said Alida Sorenson, MDA’s Rapid Response Team Coordinator. “Outbreaks often cross state lines so our established relationships with other states and the FDA enables us to respond more quickly and efficiently.”
In 2009, the MDA RRT was instrumental in identifying Salmonella contamination in peanut butter during a nationwide outbreak that was linked to nine deaths and that sickened more than 700 people.
Margaret Hart, MDA Communications