Our Arizona State Public Health Laboratory has been selected as a Level 1 Laboratory in the USDA’s Food Emergency Response Network (FERN) Cooperative Agreement Program. FERN currently comprises federal, state, and local government regulatory laboratories with varying capacities to perform threat agent testing. The FERN Program enhances the nation’s ability to detect microbiological, radiological and chemical threat agents and to improve laboratory capacity for food defense assignments and outbreak responses.

Level 1 qualification requires the laboratory to maintain the ability to perform screening assays using FERN methods for microbiology food defense targets as well as maintaining screening assays in FERN chemistry methods. This is another example of the great work our Public Health Lab staff does everyday to protect our communities.