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  5. Food Emergency Response Network (FERN)
  1. Grants and Cooperative Agreements

Food Emergency Response Network (FERN)

What is the Food Emergency Response Network (FERN)?

FERN integrates the nation's food-testing laboratories at the federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial levels into a network that is able to respond to emergencies involving biological, chemical, or radiological contamination of food. The FERN structure is organized to ensure interagency participation and cooperation in the formation, development, and operation of the network.

What are the goals of FERN?

The FERN cooperative agreements are intended to target state, local, tribal, and territorial registered FERN labs to provide increased sample analyses in the event of food outbreaks or other large-scale food emergency events requiring surge capacity testing of implicated food samples and food products. These samples could involve foods and/or environmental samples related to foods that are collected by federal, state, or local agencies. The FERN National Program Office (NPO), in coordination with state/local laboratory authorities, determines the number of samples analyzed and schedules sample analyses. Federal or state surveillance assignments are also a source of samples for lab analysis.

Who are the current awardees?

United States Map displaying 23 FDA funded FERN cooperative agreement states: AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, FL, HI, IA, MD, MI, MN, NC, NE, NH, NM, NY, OH, PA, RI, TX, VA, WA, WI.

United States Map displaying 23 FDA funded FERN cooperative agreement states: AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, FL, HI, IA, MD, MI, MN, NC, NE, NH, NM, NY, OH, PA, RI, TX, VA, WA, WI.

  • There are 26 awardees in total.
  • CA, WA, and WI each have two awardees in the FERN program.

Who can I contact for more information? 

Specific questions on this program can be directed to the appropriate Office of Partnerships' contact within the Division of Partnership Investments and Agreements. Please visit the Office of Partnerships Contacts webpage to obtain a downloaded version of the staffing roster. 

General questions may be directed to the Office of Partnerships' general mailbox: op.feedback@fda.hhs.gov