(Oct. 6, 3:15 p.m.) Seeking the ability to track foodborne illness outbreaks faster, the Food and Drug Administration plans to spend up to $2.5 billion during the next decade to modernize its information technology, including data management, data warehousing, infrastructure and security.

Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach said in a news release that the initiative will allow FDA to “acquire, analyze and act on data critical for import protection, food protection and medical product safety plans.”

FDA selected 10 contractors to compete for orders during 10-year contracts. The agency already awarded three tasks totaling $18 million to Interactive Technology Solutions, Silver Spring, Md.; Buccaneer, Warrenton, Va.; and Electronic Data Systems, Herndon, Va.

FDA said its software applications and hosting operations will transition to new data centers during a two-year period, resulting in “enhanced computing power and greater responsiveness.”

Some contracts in the initiative were announced Sept. 30, the same day FDA said it awarded $5.2 million in one-year grants for food and animal feed safety.

Colorado, California and Ohio were given up to $350,000 each for Food Emergency Response Network laboratories. That network integrates local, state and federal labs levels into a system that responds to emergencies involving contaminated food. Funds can be used for facility upgrades, training and increased testing capacity.

Meanwhile, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and departments of health in Riverside County, Calif., and Multnomah County, Ore., were awarded up to $40,000 each for food defense programs.

North Carolina, Massachusetts, California, Michigan, Florida and Minnesota were awarded up to $500,000 each to develop and implement “rapid response teams” to react to potential threats to the food supply. Those funds were made available for states to conduct program assessments, purchase equipment and supplies, pay personnel, training and information and data sharing.

“The grants represent an important step in the FDA’s continued efforts to integrate and improve the effectiveness of food safety systems at the federal, state and local levels.” Michael Chappell, FDA’s acting associate commissioner for regulatory affairs, said in a news release.