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  1. National Integrated Food Safety System (IFSS) Programs and Initiatives

What is FoodSHIELD?

FoodSHIELD is a web-based system for communication, coordination, education, and training among the nation's food and agriculture sectors. This secure system allows public health and food regulatory officials at the local, state, and federal levels across the nation to work together. It also helps communicate food safety information among other government agencies.

What is the mission of FoodSHIELD?

To support federal, state and local governmental regulatory agencies and laboratories in defending the food supply through web-based tools that enhance threat prevention and response, risk management, communication and asset coordination, as well as public education.

What is FPDI?

The Food Protection and Defense Institute (FPDI), a Homeland Security Center of Excellence led by the University of Minnesota, is a multidisciplinary and action-oriented research consortium that addresses the vulnerability of the nation's food system to attack through intentional contamination with biological or chemical agents. It seeks to defend the safety of the food system from pre-farm inputs through consumption by establishing best practices, developing new tools, and attracting new researchers to prevent, manage, and respond to food contamination events. 

How do we achieve the mission?

One step to achieving the mission is the free membership that FoodSHIELD offers to any government official working in the arena of food safety and food regulation. This is done to encourage the maximum number of users and increase collaboration through the whole safety sector. The strategy implemented for FoodSHIELD is driven by the CoreSHIELD platforms overarching strategic plan.

How was FoodSHIELD created?

  • FoodSHIELD got its start with the creation of LabDIR as a result of the National Food Safety System (NFSS) Laboratory Operations & Coordination Workgroup vision of transforming a paper-based directory into a web-based directory designed for easy access.
  • Discussions with the FDA, USDA, Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL), and AAVLD (American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnostics) identified the need for a searchable web-based directory across the full spectrum of farm-to-table laboratories as well as clinical laboratories that respond to outbreaks and food safety concerns.
  • It was later decided to develop an expanded prototype of this comprehensive laboratory directory to model concepts and features being requested by diverse groups and officials responsible for emergency response encompassing the entire food and agricultural farm-to-fork continuum.
  • Hence, FoodSHIELD came to exist as a comprehensive infrastructure supporting the protection and defense of our food and agricultural resources as a whole, including the scientific and technological diversities of the laboratory community.

What are some of the successes of the FoodSHIELD program?

  • FoodSHIELD currently has registered participation from labs and regulatory agencies in all 50 states.
  • Through their contributions, core database systems LabDIR and FoodAgDIR are well positioned for growth and critical data aggregation to provide real-time response and gap analysis for the Food & Ag Sector.
  • All participants contribute to AgencyDIR, a CORE (Common Organization Registry Environment) activity, by profiling their roles and responsibilities against normalized activities within the sector.
  • Currently comprising officials from Federal, State, and local agencies, all-hazards searching capabilities are greatly enhanced. The program drives critical outreach and response activities down to minutes of effort to identify and begin to coordinate across a diverse set of roles and responsibilities that may be needed for each unique event.
  • FoodSHIELD has begun enabling national outreach and training from previously regional activities.

Is funding available?

  • Initial funding for FoodSHIELD was provided by grants from U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food Protection and Defense Institute (FPDI), a Homeland Security Center of Excellence. FoodSHIELD start-up development has occurred under a USDA CSREES grant to FPDI and University of Minnesota researchers.
  • Also, through USDA, the Food Emergency Response Network (FERN) provided additional funds which FoodSHIELD uses to host the FERN website.
  • FoodSHIELD is also supported through its partnership with the Association of Food and Drug Officials. AFDO has provided contributions through both direct costs and in-kind contributions of over 200 state officials who firmly believe in FoodSHIELD's potential.

Who do I contract for more information?

General questions can be directed to OP.Feedback@fda.hhs.gov.

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 of obtain a downloaded version of the staffing roster.