South Carolina’s Rapid Response Team (RRT)
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Rapid Response Team (RRT) Program is an initiative that partners with state programs to build food safety infrastructure and an integrated rapid response for human and animal food emergencies.
The SC RRT program works with our FDA partners to complete a thorough evaluation of its responses, training, and procedures every year to formulate a strategic action plan for improvements and growth.
South Carolina developed a Rapid Response Team in 2018 to:
- Minimize the time between agency notification of a human or animal food contamination event and implementation of effective control measures.
- Perform traceback investigations of implicated food from the point-of-service back to the distribution and original sources.
- Monitor recalls of food to ensure impacted foods are removed from retail establishments.
- Respond to reports of employee illness at food establishments.
- Respond to intentional contamination of food.
- Assess the damage of foods in firms that manufacture, distribute, or sell foods after disasters, such as fires, floods, and weather events and provide guidance as needed.
The team, headed by two RRT Coordinators, one leading DHEC’s response and one leading the South Carolina Department of Agriculture’s (SCDA) response, is comprised of representatives from South Carolina’s Public Health Laboratory, DHEC’s Division of Acute Disease Epidemiology (DADE), and the FDA along with diverse stakeholders from food manufacturing, farming, other state food safety regulators, emergency management, law enforcement, industry, etc. The team meets on a regular basis to discuss incidents, preparations, and create familiarity.
SC RRT Membership:
- South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control
- Food Safety Program
- Dairy and Manufactured Foods Programs
- Public Health Laboratory
- Division of Acute Disease Epidemiology
- South Carolina Department of Agriculture
- Food Safety & Compliance
- Produce Safety
- Feed Safety
- SCDA Lab
- Clemson University Extension - Food Safety/Nutrition
- South Carolina Department of Education
- South Carolina Emergency Management Division (SCEMD)
- South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED)
- Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
- U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
- Representatives of SC’s Food Industry
The RRT Coordinator monitors complaints from our Food Surveillance Program and reports from DHEC’s Division of Acute Disease Epidemiology to determine response requirements and activation levels.
Our program performs safety checks with retail facilities that have the potential to carry recalled contaminated or mislabeled products.
Through training, such as FDA and FEMA coursework and university programs, DHEC arranges opportunities for members of DHEC’s Food Team and the SC RRT to be as updated and prepared as possible.
SC RRT is trained in the same Incident Command System/National Incident Management System structure as the SC Emergency Management Division, local responders, and our federal partners to facilitate improved interagency communication, coordination, and documentation of response activities.
Foodborne Illnesses & Outbreaks
The federal government estimates that there are about 48 million cases of foodborne illness annually, resulting in an estimated 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths. If you wish to submit a complaint concerning a foodborne illness or conditions at a food retail food establishment, please report it here.