Development of a Food Emergency Response Plan Template for Southeastern States

Cham Dallas, PhD

Robert Wentworth, PhD

Cameron Wiggins, MPH

Tom Beacorn, DVM, MS,MAM

 

The nationís food supply is at risk to threats of deliberate as well as unintentional contamination at multiple stages of the production, distribution, processing, retail, transportation, and storage cycles. This vulnerability and its global scope make the food supply an attractive vehicle for terrorists in creating widespread terror and in causing injury and death throughout the nation. The UGA Institute for Health Management and Mass Destruction Defense in partnership with the USDA FSISFood Emergency Response Network is developing a Food Emergency Response Plan for the State of Georgia and testing the Plan through a series of discussion and operationsbased exercises. When completed, this Plan will be used as a template to develop plans for states throughout the Southeastern Region of the U.S.

 

For the 20082009 exercise cycle, UGA Institute for Health Management and Mass Destruction Defense, UGA Department of Food Science and Technology, and the USDA have partnered with food industry stakeholders and federal, local, and state agencies to conduct food emergency exercises that incorporate various components of the food supply. During this exercise cycle, food industry stakeholders and a range of agencies will have the opportunity to participate in:

  • Tabletop exercises custom designed to familiarize participating industry and agency stakeholders with incident recognition, communication and response processes between stakeholders; and
  • Functional exercises custom designed for participating industry and agency stakeholders to improve preparation and response to specific hazards.

 

These exercises will be prepared in accordance with the Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program Guidance (HSEEP). The HSEEP planning structure will be organized in order to give players and planning team membersí guidance to prepare for these exercises. Participants will be able to test and assess their critical areas of emergency response and identify gaps in existing protocols and plan for future actions to be taken based on lessons learned.