As part of its efforts to more effectively combat foodborne illness, and
in the wake of the recent outbreak of contaminated cantaloupe, the Food
and Drug Administration has announced a new outbreak response network.
The Coordinated Outbreak Response and Evaluation (CORE) Network is dedicated
to responding quickly to human and animal foodborne illness outbreaks,
the agency stated.
As detailed in the FDA
press release, the CORE Network will be comprised of a multi-disciplinary team of epidemiologists,
veterinarians, microbiologists, environmental health specialists, emergency
coordinators, and risk communications specialists. In addition, CORE will
coordinate closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and state public health
and agriculture agencies in human and animal foodborne illness outbreaks.
Dr. Kathleen F. Gensheimer, M.D., M.P.H., who the FDA touts as a nationally
recognized public health leader who most recently was the state epidemiologist
for Maine, will serve the new position of chief medical officer/outbreak
director. In this capacity, she leads the CORE Network and has responsibility
for all FDA preparedness, outbreak response, and post-response activities.
“The CORE Network builds on the best practices FDA has already implemented
in its outbreak response efforts,” said Mike Taylor, FDA deputy
commissioner of foods. “And, in keeping with the reforms of the
FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, CORE activities will learn from outbreaks
to develop preventive systems, in an effort to reduce them from happening
in the future.”
“CORE will also allow for more consistency in monitoring and investigating
outbreaks, as well as streamline decision making and improve food safety
practices,” Taylor added.
“The centralized staff of the CORE Network will work closely with
FDA’s field emergency response coordinators and the investigative
and analytical teams in the District offices and associated laboratories,”
said Dara Corrigan, associate commissioner for regulatory affairs. “Working
together will help to both standardize and strengthen how we conduct foodborne
outbreak activities in the field.”