Veterinary surveillance laboratories: developing the training program.
Food adulteration and inspection
Food adulteration and inspection (Equipment and supplies)
Medical laboratories (Services)
Medical laboratories (Equipment and supplies)
Food (Equipment and supplies)
Veterinary medicine (Equipment and supplies)
Veterinary medicine (Usage)
Mitchell, Staci L.
McCline, Katasha T.
Hanfelt, Margery M.
|Publication:||Name: U.S. Army Medical Department Journal Publisher: U.S. Army Medical Department Center & School Audience: Professional Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2010 U.S. Army Medical Department Center & School ISSN: 1524-0436|
|Issue:||Date: Oct-Dec, 2010|
|Topic:||Event Code: 440 Facilities & equipment; 360 Services information|
|Product:||Product Code: 3841180 Veterinary Instruments; 7397030 Biomedical Testing Labs NAICS Code: 339112 Surgical and Medical Instrument Manufacturing; 54138 Testing Laboratories SIC Code: 3841 Surgical and medical instruments; 8071 Medical laboratories; 8731 Commercial physical research|
|Geographic:||Geographic Scope: United States Geographic Code: 1USA United States|
Veterinary Services has 2 accredited reference food testing laboratories; the Department of Defense (DoD) Veterinary Food Analysis and Diagnostic Laboratory (FADL) at Ft Sam Houston, Texas, and the Veterinary Laboratory Europe at Landstuhl, Germany. (1) The laboratories, complemented by regional surveillance laboratories in Korea and Hawaii, encompassed the food laboratory support to the field. Despite the exemplary performance of these laboratories, the delays between sample submissions to receipt of results due to time and distance factors can adversely impact local missions. Thus, immediate local command support has relied on the Veterinary Service food inspection subject matter expertise, thermometers, and organoleptic testing for the inspection of food and bottled water for wholesomeness, safety, and defense. Striving to overcome this technology gap, 2 new laboratory veterinary equipment sets were developed and fielded. Assay training methodologies, originally developed at the Veterinary Laboratory Europe, were exported to the Army Medical Department Center and School (AMEDDC&S) Department of Veterinary Science (DVS) as a Professional Postgraduate Short Course Program course in early 2007. This initial, basic one-week familiarization course was fully developed and expanded into 2 separate DVS functional courses. As a result, "surveillance food laboratories" is the new term for the successful deployment of these training initiatives.
SURVEILLANCE FOOD LABORATORY VETERINARY EQUIPMENT SETS
To meet the need for increased rapid, portable, onsite testing of food and bottled water to complement current programs established by reference laboratories, 2 veterinary equipment sets (VES) were developed and fielded to test for indicators of microbiological and chemical agents:
* The Field Microbiology VES primarily incorporates capabilities for microbiology testing of food, water, and equipment surfaces for indicators of microorganisms. This VES also includes bioluminescent swab tests.
* The Food Testing VES incorporates additional food chemistry screening tests.
Together, these equipment sets provide the Veterinary Service commander the opportunity to maintain surveillance food laboratories at critical sites within the command and the ability to "scout" local sites/vendors for potential food safety and defense issues.
SURVEILLANCE FOOD LABORATORY PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT
To provide guidance to Veterinary Service commanders on the deployment and use of the laboratory veterinary equipment sets, the Surveillance Food Laboratory Program Guide (2) was developed by DVS in coordination with the FADL, and signed into implementation by the DoD Veterinary Service Activity. The purpose of developing surveillance laboratories within unit/district commands is to achieve multiple food safety and defense goals. While not all inclusive, these goals provide unit/district commanders and the military community they support with a greatly expanded and improved food safety program:
* Increased surveillance allows increased opportunities to identify potential problems before they are manifested and provide guidance to local commands in areas or situations where the military mission necessitates a direct response.
SURVEILLANCE FOOD LABORATORY PROGRAM TRAINING INITIATIVES
As an AMEDDC&S training department, the Department of Veterinary Science is responsible for training Soldiers and Department of the Army civilians on the proper use and follow-up actions necessary to deploy and operate the laboratory veterinary equipment sets to their full potential. This responsibility was met with the development of the 2 new functional courses, the Surveillance Food Laboratory Technician and Manager Courses, which are taught by designated DVS laboratory training personnel complemented with FADL subject matter experts. Additionally, DVS dispatches a Veterinary Training Assistance Team (VTAT) to conduct an offsite version of these courses at the unit's location when requested by the unit commander. However, successful completion of this training is only the first step. Certification as a Surveillance Food Laboratory Technician is a 2-part process; successful completion of the DVS functional course or targeted VTAT as determined by the Chief, DVS; and acceptable proficiency results as determined by the FADL Director. This certification must be renewed annually.
The Surveillance Food Laboratory Technician Course (321-F18), developed for Veterinary Food Inspection Specialists (military occupational specialty 68R) and designated civilians, is an intensive, fast paced, 80hour course; where students learn microbiological and chemistry indicator assay methodologies and procedures. The first week of the course is the "crawl/walk" phase, as students are walked through topics that include basic laboratory procedures, laboratory safety and HAZMAT requirements, laboratory environmental surveillance, testing methods, laboratory worksheets, laboratory equipment and supplies, and interpretation and significance of their testing results. Week two is the "walk/run" phase where students are required to individually perform a variety of tests on samples of 4 different commodities, properly document all phases of testing and results, and conduct an oral briefing to explain the significance of those results. There are quizzes, practical exercises, and preparation time allotted throughout. Students are required to maintain an overall academic average of 75%, as well as receive first-time "GOs" on all graded practical exercises, in order to receive an AMEDDC&S Certificate of Training. Demonstration of this Certificate of Training for the residence course, or a DVS issued training certificate for VTATs, is required for the Soldier to request proficiency testing samples from the FADL in pursuit of certification as a Surveillance Food Laboratory Technician
Recognizing the need to train Veterinary Food Inspection noncommissioned officers, Veterinary Corps Food Safety Officers (Area of Concentration 640A), Veterinary Corps Officers (Area of Concentration 64A), and designated civilians as managers of the laboratories and laboratory programs, the Surveillance Food Laboratory Manager Course (6G-F15/321-F17) was created. Commanders must have confidence that only actionable results are produced by the surveillance food laboratories, and the training in this course directly contributes to providing that confidence. Building on the food safety and defense expertise already in their military occupation skill set, students are quickly immersed in a fast-paced, one-week course (including nightly homework and morning quizzes) that teaches concepts and skills critical to the surveillance laboratory operation, including laboratory rollout plans, laboratory oversight, testing, documentation verification, evaluation of results, risk communication, response to presumptive positive results, and auditing surveillance laboratories. The week culminates in a 6-hour, graded, practical exercise consisting of testing stations of the key concepts as taught. As with the technician course, students must achieve an overall 75% and all GOs to receive an AMEDDC&S Certificate of Training as determined by the DVS Chief. In addition, each student receiving an overall average of 90% and all GOs will have passed the surveillance laboratory manager proficiency requirement, as determined by the FADL Director, and will receive the Surveillance Laboratory Manager certificate. This training by DVS and certification by the FADL will also be conducted offsite for Veterinary Service units as needed and requested.
As a result of these aggressive training initiatives by DVS, complemented by the FADL, 100 technicians and 48 managers have been trained to date. In turn, they have established 5 fully functional surveillance laboratories, with several more in varying stages of development. Locations include all major theaters of operations; and the units include both TOE* and TDA [dagger] units, Active Army and Reserve Veterinary Service units. These surveillance laboratories have successfully supported destination monitoring, Department of the Army special events, food and water risk assessment, food safety objectives, and similar food protection missions worldwide.
Upgraded versions of the 2 veterinary equipment sets are being fielded, with an associated shift in the surveillance laboratory concept and purpose. The VES 913B (Surveillance Lab Basic), will incorporate the methodologies, equipment, and supplies currently taught; but will include additional capabilities, including basic animal disease surveillance. This additional capability is not designed to support a veterinary treatment facility, but rather the disease surveillance within a local animal population or area of concern within a theater of operations. The VES 914B (Surveillance Lab Augmentation) is the next level of testing capabilities, with the dual purpose of both food protection and animal disease surveillance missions, with an emphasis on specialty and advanced assays. To train the VES 914B, an Advanced Veterinary Surveillance Laboratory Course for certified technicians and managers is under development for implementation during Fiscal Year 2011. This course will train the new methodologies, with an emphasis on the dual purpose laboratory mission. All the DVS laboratory courses will reflect this shift from the Surveillance Food to the dual use Veterinary Surveillance Laboratory.
The Department of Veterinary Science, in conjunction with the DoD Veterinary Food Analysis and Diagnostic Laboratory, continues to successfully meet the challenge of developing new training initiatives to fulfill the field requirement for onsite deployment of the laboratory veterinary equipment sets and establishment of local veterinary surveillance laboratories. The result has been the establishment of multiple surveillance laboratories supporting food protection missions worldwide.
(1.) Lab Sample Submission Guide. Fort Sam Houston, Texas: Department of Defense Veterinary Food Analysis and Diagnostic Laboratory; January 2009:3. Available at: http://www.vetlab.army.mil/documents/ LABguide2009.pdf.
(2.) US Army Surveillance Food Laboratory Program Guide. Fort Sam Houston, Texas: Department of Veterinary Science, Army Medical Department Center and School; August 2008.
Staci L. Mitchell
SSG Katasha T. McCline, USA
LTC Margery M. Hanfelt, VC, USA
* Table of Organization and Equipment: Defines the structure and equipment for a military organization or unit.
([dagger]) Table of Distribution and Allowances: Prescribes the organizational structure, personnel and equipment authorizations, and requirements of a military unit to perform a specific mission for which there is no appropriate table of organization and equipment.
Ms Mitchell is the Project Officer for surveillance laboratory training courses at the AMEDDC&S, Fort Sam Houston, Texas.
SSG McCline is the Surveillance Laboratory Training Noncommissioned Officer, Department of Veterinary Science, AMEDDC&S, Fort Sam Houston, Texas.
LTC Hanfelt is Commander, Japan District Veterinary Command, Camp Zama, Japan.
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