Food Defense Response:
Tomato and Pepper Salmonella Investigation:
The North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services (NCDA&CS) Emergency Programs Division (EP) assisted the Food and Drug Division in its response to a national Salmonella outbreak in various fresh produce products in the late summer of 2008. Due to the complexity of the event and potential serious consequences for consumers and producers alike, EP assisted in the establishment of a Multi-Agency Joint Operation Center at the F&D Constable Laboratory. Specifically Emergency Programs: developed and distributed daily Incident Action Plans; refined procedures to address personnel, equipment, and safety issues; facilitated daily conference calls; gathered, recorded, and disseminated event documentation; developed and distributed daily situation reports; provided secure web based data and information gathering tools to facilitate situational awareness and operational planning processes; implemented a web based field reporting and time and mileage websites; and acted as liaison to involved agency administrators and NC Emergency Management.
Operation Restore (Peanut Butter Recall):
In the winter of 2009 the US FDA issued a peanut butter recall due to the recent outbreaks of Salmonella linked to peanut paste. The North Carolina Food and Drug Protection Division (NCDA&CS FD) conducted 569 checks evaluating over 2000 products subject to the recall with an effectiveness rate in excess of 68%. The Emergency Programs Division supported the Food and Drug Division technologically with the creation of a web based data entry and reporting tools. These tools allowed inspectors in the field to rapidly upload critical time sensitive data which assisted decision makers helping them make informed choices quickly. Additionally, websites were also developed for workers involved in the recall to record time & mileage, allowing rapid accounting for reimbursement, and an “after action” website, to gather feedback from participants.
Tollhouse Cookie Dough Recall:
In June 2009 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a recall on multiple varieties of prepackaged Nestle Toll House refrigerated cookie dough due to the risk of E. coli contamination. The North Carolina Food and Drug Protection Division conducted 615 checks evaluating 67 products subject to the recall. The Emergency Programs Division supported the effort by developing easy to use web based data recording and reporting tools that were utilized not only by inspectors in North Carolina, but also by inspectors in the states of Florida, Michigan, New York and Oregon. The tools developed by EP were instrumental in facilitating a recall effectiveness rate in excess of 78%. In addition to helping to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the recall, the web based applications were a model for the states also involved in this recall.
In the spring of 2002 Virginia and North Carolina experienced an outbreak of avian influenza (low pahtogenic). Avian influenza carries with it a large economic impact as a result of loss of trade status, movement restrictions and the culling of infected flocks. The MHTD was utilized by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDA&CS) to rapidly contain the virus and prevent significant spread. This incident demonstrates the close working relationship with industry and the private farmer that we have grown to rely on.
During the mid to late 1990's the NCDA&CS along with the US Department of Agriculture and private industry eradicated the pseudorabies virus in North Carolina. This was accomplished through vaccination and the use of the NC Animal Health GIS system to track the spread of the diease.
Tropical Storm Nicole Flooding:
In response to the widespread flooding that accompanied Tropical Storm Nicole in the Fall of 2010, maps were created and analysis of the data was performed to assess overall flood impact. The maps included storm tracking maps, creation of a regional coastal map and the creation of specified impacted counties maps. In addition tables were extracted from the data with contact information for medically fragile population facilities that resided in both the 100 year and 500 year floodplains.
Hurricane/Tropical Storm Hanna:
On September 6, 2008 Tropical Storm Hanna (formerly Hurricane Hanna) made landfall near the border of North and South Carolina. Prior to the storm making landfall, EP activated the Ag Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and provided support to the State EOC and counties who opened animal shelters for evacuees. Eleven co-located shelters were operated during the storm. In addition to manning the AgEOC and providing liaisons to the State EOC, EP coordinated assessments reported from the NCDA&CS Divisions, as well as State Animal Response Team (SART) partners. In addition, EP personnel provided mapping and analysis support to NCDA&CS and the North Carolina Office of Emergency Medical Services (NC OEMS).
Evans Road Fire:
In June of 2008 a wildfire broke out in Eastern North Carolina consuming over 40,000 acres. Utilizing WebEOC, EP coordinated the NCDA&CS response and
support activities for this event. Logistical support was provided in the
form of a loan of 320 gallons of fire suppression foam from our avian influenza (AI) response
inventory. The Department also provided two trucks for dust abatement as well as personnel
from Plant Industries division. Food
Distribution was also supplied in the form of two refrigerated trailers to support food service for the fire fighters.