Annual Report Annual Report 2015 : Page 7

FO O D SAFET Y “APHL’s Food and Feed Testing Subcommittee walked our staff through the ISO accreditation process, from the ‘big picture’ of how ISO works to the incremental steps needed to achieve it. Our NDA food and residue laboratories achieved ISO accreditation in November 2015, and we couldn’t be happier.” Karen Owens, environmental laboratory analyst, prepares beef trim submitted from a meat-processing facility for the testing of E. coli O157:H7 as required by the Iowa Department of Agriculture Brooke Christiansen, clinical lab analyst, pipettes reagents into a 96 well for 16S sequencing to identify bacteria at the State Hygienic Laboratory at the University of Iowa Dirk Shoemaker, laboratory administrator, Nebraska Department of Agriculture National Collaborations A second APHL effort to safeguard the US food supply is its long-term participation in the Council to Improve Foodborne Outbreak Response (CIFOR) — a national collaboration of laboratorians, epidemiologists and food safety inspectors across all levels of govern-ment. In 2015, three important APHL CIFOR projects came to fruition: • Outbreaks of Undetermined Etiology Guide-lines. These guidelines provide recommenda-tions on the proper handling of foodborne outbreak specimens, so they are not degraded or used up before scientists can perform second-tier testing, when an etiology proves elusive. • Yardstick Self-Assessment Tool for Public Health Food Safety Testing. This valuable resource went online in 2015 to make it even easier for laboratories to measure and monitor their performance in key areas, such as surge capacity and data accuracy. The tool was designed for use by any laboratory that tests for chemicals, toxins, radiation or foodborne pathogens in human specimens, food or environmental samples to support public health. • CIFOR Metrics Entry Tool (C-MET). What training, tools and resources do foodborne disease outbreak responders need? C-MET was created to find out. The online tool, developed with the Minnesota Integrated Food Safety Center of Excellence, enables food safety officials to enter data on 16 CIFOR metrics with target ranges, including test turnaround time and the percentage of microbes subtyped for PulseNet. Not only can users compare their progress with aggregate data for each metric, but select database administrators can access stratified data (e.g., for geographic regions) to identify common gaps. Moving PulseNet into the Future The PulseNet surveillance network has traditionally relied on a technology called pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). Once considered state-of-the-art, PFGE is gradually being replaced by whole genome sequencing (WGS), which offers greater discriminatory power to identify specific foodborne pathogens. In 2015, APHL coordinated the effort to certify 12 PulseNet laboratories in WGS for Salmo-nella, E. coli O157:H7, C. jejuni and L. monocy-togenes , one of the deadliest foodborne bugs. The association also: • Supported ten pilot sites in the PulseNet network to begin WGS for Salmonella and Shiga toxin-producing E. coli and equipped those sites with $430,000 worth of testing reagents and supplies • Proposed a Harmonized WGS Quality Assurance Plan for PulseNet and FDA’s GenomeTrakr laboratory network • Convened the 2015 Integrated Foodborne Outbreak Response and Management Confer-ence in Phoenix, AZ. This cross-discipline meeting — organized by three federal agencies and five associations — brought together over 475 public health authorities to discuss WGS implementation and other salient topics • Assisted with bench training on WGS, as well as training on Applied Maths’ BioNumerics software, which offers push-button analysis of complex WGS data, eliminating the need for a laboratory bioinformatician. APHL also purchased BioNumerics 7.5 upgrades for many member laboratories. 2015 APHL ANNUAL REPORT 7 2015 APHL ANNUAL REPORT 7

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