When the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began operating CORE, the Coordinated Outbreak Response and Evaluation Network, in August 2011, it brought together a full-time team with expertise in medicine, public health, veterinary medicine, environmental health, microbiology and public policy that is constantly looking for potential outbreaks in the U.S., investigating those outbreaks, and developing policies and guidance to prevent future outbreaks.
In the past, FDA would assemble a response team once an outbreak was identified, and those staff would go back to their usual jobs once the response was over. Now five full-time teams work on various aspects of investigations from Signals, to Response to Post-Response activities, and can hit the ground running on new outbreaks. This new structure speeds the response, ensures continuity, and standardizes processes.
Importantly, though, CORE is a network that includes resources across FDA, the federal government and state and local partner agencies. Within the FDA, the network includes, among others, the Office of Crisis Management, the Office of External Relations; the subject matter experts at FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition and the Center for Veterinary Medicine, staff from Office of Regulatory Affairs at both headquarters and within the FDA Districts, and the Office of International Programs.
Outside the FDA, the CORE network includes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and food safety, agricultural, regulatory, public health and laboratory professionals at state and local government agencies.
This publication, ”FDA’s CORE: A Food Safety Network 2011-2012,” documents some of the major successes that these many teams had in the CORE network’s first 17 months, and it shows that through constant refinement we can expect further success in coming years.