• FOOD EMERGENCY RESPONSE NETWORK
    integrates the nation's food-testing laboratories at the local, state, and federal levels into a network that is able to respond to
    emergencies involving biological, chemical, or radiological contamination of food. The FERN structure is
    organized to ensure federal and state inter-agency participation and cooperation in the formation,
    development, and operation of the network.
    Read More

FERN Focus

Prevention

FERN provides for an early means of detecting threat agents in the American food supply

Preparedness

FERN prepares the nation's laboratories to be able to respond to food-related emergencies

Response

FERN offers significant surge capacity that will strengthen the nation's response towards widespread complex emergencies, intentional or inadvertent related to agents in food

Recovery

The FERN network of laboratories enhances the ability of the country to restore confidence in the food supply following a threat or an actual emergency targeting the nation's food supply


FERN Structure

The Food Emergency Response Network (FERN) is composed of four components: the FERN Steering Committee, the FERN National Program Office (NPO), FERN Support Programs, and the FERN Regional Coordination Centers (RCCs). Organizations with representatives on the FERN Steering Committee include state agriculture, environmental, public health, and veterinary diagnostic laboratories as well as federal partners from Health and Human Services (Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control), United States Department of Agriculture (Food Safety and Inspection Service, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Agricultural Marketing Service, Grain Inspection, Packers, and Stockyard Administration), US Customs, Department of Defense, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Environmental Protection Agency, and Department of Homeland Security. The FERN Steering Committee is co-chaired by senior executives from the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and HHS's Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the day to day operations of FERN are a joint venture between the USDA-FSIS and the FDA.

The operational structure of FERN consists of the National Program Office (NPO) with personnel located in Athens, Georgia and Rockville, Maryland. Additionally, there are Regional Coordination Centers, (RCCs), located in each of the (5) FDA regions across the United States. The FERN has held Regional Coordination Center (RCC) meetings to establish operational and communication guidelines within each FERN region; communicating its objectives, policies and current activities; enhancing collaboration between FERN laboratories within a region, and providing an opportunity for individual regions to tailor response plans to their state policies and regional needs.

The FERN National Program Office coordinates support program activities in the following areas: Method Development and Validation, Training, Proficiency Testing, Surveillance, and Electronic Communication.


FERN Introduction

Module 1

Introduction to FERN

Module 2

Why Was FERN Created?

Module 3

What is FERN's Mission?

Module 4

Who are FERN's Members?

Module 5

What is FERN's Organizational Structure?

Module 6

What are FERN's Support Programs?

Module 7

What is an Emergency Support Function?

Completion Documents

Upon completion, please download forms.

Become a FERN Lab

The Food Emergency Response Network (FERN) integrates the nation's food-testing laboratories at the local, state, and federal levels into a network that is able to respond to emergencies involving biological, chemical, or radiological contamination of food. The FERN structure is organized to ensure federal and state inter-agency participation and cooperation in the formation, development, and operation of the network.

For more information about applying to become a FERN member Lab, please contact us at: FERN

 

FERN in Action

Forms

Secure Account Request

Complete for system access

Get in Touch


Support Team


Support Hours

  • Monday - Friday - 8 am to 5 pm