State receives federal grant to enhance food contamination testing

Local News
Photo by Joe Raedle via Getty Images

Photo by Joe Raedle via Getty Images

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Concerns within the State Department of Health (DOH) over microbial contamination of food products has led to the securement of a $370,000 grant from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

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The DOH says the grant will work to enhance Hawaii’s Food Emergency Response Network (FERN) microbiology laboratory and allow for more accurate food safety and contamination testing through the nationally validated protocols.

Although FDA funds for microbial contamination have been provided annually since 2004, this year’s program will be the largest amount of financial assistance ever given.

The one-year grant will starts this month and continue through June 2021, state health officials say.

Additionally, the grant has the potential to be extended for up to four years for a total of $2 million, which will depend on performance and efficiency in microbial contamination testing.

“We’re honored to be selected as one of the states to participate in this important food defense project to be prepared to respond to possible intentional microbiological contamination of food products in Hawai‘i,” said Dr. Edward Desmond, Chief of the State Laboratories Division. “We’ll also be able to serve as a surge laboratory on a national scale, contribute to the national food testing surveillance program, and support testing for inspections and investigations to remove potentially contaminated food products before reaching consumers.”

Read the full press release here.

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