The Food and Drug Administration is trying to encourage all sectors involved in food and regulations to work together to prepare for food safety emergencies.

FDA program prepares industry for food safety crisesOn July 20, the FDA and its federal agency partners released its Food Related Emergency Exercise Boxed set, an internet-based collection of scenarios that could help regulators, public health organizations and the food industry test readiness for food-related emergencies, according to a news release.

The release cited how FREE-B could help the various sectors work together in an emergency involving unintentional contamination of produce with E. coli 0157:H7.

FREE-B features five scenarios the FDA says are designed to help test and develop food emergency response plans, protocols and procedures. The program should aid food and agriculture industry people and emergency preparedness planners work better with each other, neighboring jurisdictions and federal agencies during food emergencies, according to the release.

“Being prepared for any kind of emergency is critical to a rapid and effective response,” Michael Taylor, FDA’s deputy commissioner for foods, said in the release. “FREE-B helps people think about their own responsibilities in a time of crisis and how to best work with others involved.”

The FDA developed the program by working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

Read more about the program and download the scenarios at