For Federal, State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial Officials
Rapid Response Teams
What are the Rapid Response Teams (RRTs)?
The Food Protection RRTs conduct integrated, multiagency responses to all-hazards food and feed emergencies in various states across the Nation. RRTs are developed through a multiyear cooperative agreement between FDA and State food regulatory partners. There are currently eighteen (18) RRTs within the Program. This cooperative agreement requires that these teams engage partners across disciplines and jurisdictions to build core capabilities and explore innovative approaches to response. The RRTs vary from each other in accordance with differences in government structures, geographies, laws, resources, etc.
View the RRT Program Overview here.
The 2013 Edition of the RRT Best Practices Manual is now available!! To request the RRT Best Practices Manual 2013 Edition, or for other questions regarding the RRT Program, please contact the Office of Parnterships at OP-ORA@fda.hhs.gov. Access the announcement of the availability of the 2013 Edition of the RRT Best Practices Manual here.
The RRT programwas created to address the need for improved, integrated rapid response to food and feed emergencies. Multiple national initiatives such as the Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act (2007), formation of the President’s Food Safety Working Group (2009), and the passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act (2011) all point to the priority of this issue for the Nation.
The RRT program began in 2008, with awards being made to six pilot states: CA (SAN-DO & LOS-DO), FL (FLA-DO), MA (NWE-DO), MI (DET-DO), MN (MIN-DO) and NC (ATL-DO). In 2009, the pilot was expanded to TX (DAL-DO), VA (BLT-DO) and WA (SEA-DO). Nine new RRTs were added in August, 2012 and continue through FY13. The new RRTs are: RI (NWE-DO), NY (NYK-DO), PA (PHI-DO), MD (BLT-DO), WV (BLT-DO), MS (NOL-DO), GA (ATL-DO), IA (KAN-DO) and MO (KAN-DO). The map below identifies how nine states began in 2008 or 2009 (green) and nine states joined in 2012 (blue). In total, 14 ORA Districts have RRTs, where 1 District has 3 RRTs, 3 Districts have 2 RRTs and 10 Districts have 1 RRT.
In order for RRTs to effectively respond to food emergencies, they must build extensive collaboration among multiple disciplines, such as partners in environmental health, epidemiology, laboratory, law enforcement, emergency management. This also spans federal, state, local, and other partners.
The nine pilot RRTs continue to develop their teams individually and as a national network. The program started when many state and local resources were encountering new financial and other challenges. However, they have taken advantage of both the similarities among their situations and their differences to create a model that can be helpful for a wide range of other partners. They have documented best practices in the RRT Best Practices Manual (described below), explored and tested new tools, and demonstrated the process and value of building partnerships to improve emergency response.
Recent RRT responses to emergencies exhibit the benefits of strengthened collaboration and capabilities on the efficiency and effectiveness of their responses.
FLIRRT Featured in Florida Restaurant and Lodging Magazine: The FLIRRT is featured in an article of Florida Restaurant and Lodging Magazine! The article describes the FLIRRT and the role it played during the Republican National Convention (Page 31).
Use of Global Trade Item Numbers in the Investigation of a Salmonella Newport Outbreak Associated with Blueberries in Minnesota, 2010: This article, published May 1, 2013 in the Journal of Food Protection, demonstrates how novel traceback methods (centered around the use of supplier-specific 12-digit Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs) and shopper-card information) were used to successfully identify a single blueberry grower linked to cases when traditional traceback methods failed. This investigation demonstrates the emerging concepts of Crticial Tracking Events (CTEs) and Key Data Elements (KDE) related to food product tracing. Personnel from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (a RRT cooperative agreement recipient), the Minnesota Department of Health, and the University of Minnesota School of Public Health are credited as authors in this publication.
Use of traceback methods to confirm the source of a multistate Escherichia coli O157:H7 outbreak due to in-shell hazelnuts: This article, published February 1, 2012 in the Journal of Food Protection, demonstrates how traceback methods were used to rapidly test an epidemiological hypothesis and confirm in-shell hazelnuts as the vehicle in a multi-state E. coli O157:H7 outbreak. Personnel from three RRT cooperative agreement recipients (Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and California Department of Public Health) are credited as authors in this publication.
Notes from the Field: Human Salmonella Infantis Infections Linked to Dry Dog Food — United States and Canada, 2012: An article published June 15, 2012 in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) featured the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD). The article focuses on how a positive sample of dog food tested by MDARD as part of routine retail testing resulted in not only a recall of that single product, but contributed to an ongoing outbreak investigation and spurred additional testing by multiple agencies, which resulted in subsequent product recalls.