Foodborne illness can have a major impact on people's health and the economy. Foodborne illnesses can also be very complex and stretch across many parts of our state or between multiple states.

The Missouri Rapid Response Team (MRRT) is designed to streamline the response to large, complex foodborne illness outbreaks. The MRRT provides greater coordination, shared communications and a unified incident command structure to combine experts from different technical disciplines and agencies into a single team. It increases the capability to "connect the dots," and respond to foodborne illness outbreaks more effectively.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, the Missouri Department of Agriculture and the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) all contribute experts, resources and many capabilities to the MRRT. Missouri is one of 19 states funded by an FDA grant to create and maintain a Rapid Response Team.

Missouri Rapid Response Team Achievements

Having a Rapid Response Team in Missouri has helped us develop capabilities and relationships that have made us much stronger. We are able to respond to a wide-variety of threats and hazards.  Here are some accomplishments of the Missouri Rapid Response Team (MRRT):

  • Christmas response (2014) to Listeria Monocytogenes outbreak in caramel apples.  The MRRT found the source of the national outbreak.  The MRRT won a National Award for Leveraging Collaboration.
  • Christmas Response (2015) the MRRT was able to stop a Salmonella Oranienburg outbreak in eggs.  The MRRT found the exact source of the outbreak and stopped the outbreak before Christmas Day.
  • MRRT personnel, communications and resources were used to stop a second Salmonella Oranienburg outbreak (2016).
  • MRRT personnel, resources and communications were used during the 2017 floods that devastated the southern half of the state.  MRRT team members worked with local public health agencies throughout the affected area.  Enormous amounts of food were potentially contaminated by flood damage.  Not a single foodborne illness has ever been attributed to the 2017 floods.
  • Recently, the MRRT activated to investigate cases of Salmonella Newport in tomatoes. The MRRT was able to investigate four Missouri farms and one Missouri Distributor within one day. The MRRT also provided consultation that can help the farmers and the distributor to further reduce the risk of contamination in the future.
  • MRRT members and partner agencies worked to stop the sale of kratom.   Kratom was linked to a nationwide outbreak of Salmonella. Team members were able to identify a major distributor in Kansas City, embargo the kratom and witness its destruction.
  • Participated in Callaway Nuclear Exercises and added improvements to the state’s nuclear response plan.
  • Worked with local public health agencies in Kansas City to conduct a major, multi-state exercise.
  • Created a Subject Matter Expert Center for Ice Cream related outbreaks.
  • The MRRT maintains equipment including biological sampling kits that are ready 24/7.