REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS – FREE-B WORKSHOPS
Released in July, 2011 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Food Related Emergency Exercise (FREE-B)
toolkit is set of five tabletop exercise scenarios, available online, based on both intentional and unintentional food
contamination events. FREE-B is designed with the intention of assisting stakeholders in assessing existing food
emergency response plans, protocols, and procedures, or to assist in the revising or development of a food emergency
FREE-B provides stakeholders with a variety of options to test and improve their capabilities to respond to food-related
human or animal health emergencies. The five scenarios in FREE-B are designed so that entities can conduct the
exercises with a minimal amount of customization. The FREE-B also contains a number of features designed to make the
exercise planning process much easier, including a Lead Planner’s Guide that contains guidance on coordinating the
activity as well as other tools and resources to assist with food emergency response plan development and a listing of
potential funding sources to help support the costs of holding these exercises.
Each scenario is stand-alone, allowing for the flexibility to choose the most relevant one for an exercise. Additionally,
FREE-B is predicated on strengthening existing collaborations and partnerships between and among neighboring
jurisdictions and with other stakeholders (private sector, law enforcements, private sector, medical community, and first
responders, etc.). FDA encourages users of FREE-B to consider inviting these groups to participate in the exercises in
order to further bolster and solidify existing relationships.
FREE-B is consistent with the Food Safety Modernization Act’s call for coordination among federal food-safety agencies
and the development of resources to help local and state agencies involved in helping to ensure the safety of our nation’s
Through participation in any of the scenarios, stakeholders will:
Cultivate professional skills by learning how to work with dynamic, ad-hoc teams facing critical food emergency
incidents that threaten the safety of the public
Assess readiness to effectively address a food contamination incident
Define roles and interactions with partners
Understand the purpose and objectives of federal, state, local and industry organizations and how each provides
resources to address different aspects of food contamination scenarios
Take appropriate, timely and effective steps to remediate emergency situations that are caused by intentional or
FREE-B takes a “whole-community” approach to preparedness. The term “whole-community” refers to the need for cross-
discipline preparedness training for large-scale incidents through regular exercise and training, evaluation and plan
To learn more about the FREE-B initiative, please visit the Food Defense Oversight Team’s websiteor click here to visit
the FREE-B web site.
REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS
Through this request for proposals (RFP), the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), under contract with the US Food and
Drug Administration (FDA) Food Defense Oversight Team, seeks to provide strategic guidance and limited financial
support to interested State, Local, Tribal or Territorial-based food and feed regulatory entities to conduct one of the
following exercises that are part of the FREE-B portfolio. The following three exercises were developed based on FDA
How Sweet It Is(n’t)- This scenario focuses attention on the regulatory traceback investigation that occurs after
standard product testing shows that an FDA regulated food product contains excessive levels of a contaminant,
as well as a recall of contaminated food from commerce.
Stealthy Situation- This exercise is a comprehensive scenario and includes the epidemiological investigation,
traceback and recall identification and implementation, role of regulatory agencies, and highlights nuances
associated when a cluster of illness is associated with a foodservice establishment and an FDA regulated
Wilted Woes- This scenario begins at the outset of early signal detection with clinical illness reports, and focuses
on the epidemiological investigation process to identify the food vehicle, when there is a human health emergency
caused by an unintentional contamination of produce (FDA regulated product) with E. coli O157:H7.
Entities that are selected for funding and strategic assistance will receive the following:
- Strategic guidance on organizing and conducting a FREE-B exercise including planning, identifying attendees,
selecting a facilitator and facilitating onsite group discussions
- Up to $5,000 in financial support to defer the cost of conducting one exercise (direct reimbursement of actual
- Day-of assistance with managing the discussion and gathering participant feedback
CRITERIA FOR SELECTION
Preference will be given to entities that demonstrate need based on the following criteria. Please reference these criteria
in your narrative responses to the RFP. Respondents should reference at least six of these criteria in their responses.
A. Involvement of other government partners/entities in the exercise (including representatives from your designated
FDA region, state, academic community and industry)
B. Jurisdictions that do not currently have sophisticated food defense-related programs
C. Jurisdictions that have not previously conducted a food protection or food defense tabletop exercise or workshop
(or a significant time period has passed since the last tabletop exercise or workshop)
D. Jurisdictions that have not received HHS Education & Training Grants, Food Protection Rapid Response Team
Grants or Food Protection Task Force Grants (FPTFG), Manufactured Food Regulatory Program Standards or
other Federal training grants within the last year
E. Jurisdictions that need to conduct an exercise to test a food protection or food defense component of their Food
Emergency Response Plan
F. Jurisdictions that have identified food defense or food protection related risk communications activities as a key
G. Jurisdictions that have developed a new plan (food defense, risk communication, etc.) that needs to be tested
through a tabletop exercise
H. Jurisdictions that have hired new staff or have seen recent staff turnover that are in need of food defense or food
I. Jurisdictions that have not previously worked with non-traditional partners in food emergency response
Completed responses to the RFP should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org by 4:00 pm Eastern Standard Time on
November 18, 2011. Once the request for proposals period has closed, a review panel will perform a thorough analysis of
the submissions received and make a recommendation to the FDA Food Defense Oversight Team for granting funding
requests. This recommendation will be determined based on the criteria identified in the RFP and the scenario requested.
The Food Defense Oversight Team will review and approve the final list of awardees. All of the entities submitting a
response to the RFP will be notified of a decision by December 20, 2011. All tabletop exercises must be completed by
June 15, 2012.
Please contact Amanda Zychowski (email@example.com).
Please complete all sections of this form. The information that you provide will be used to select sites that will be funded.
Incomplete applications will not be considered for funding. Responses for each question should be limited to 250
words or less unless otherwise indicated. Please email your completed responses to firstname.lastname@example.org 4:00
pm Eastern Standard Time on November 18, 2011.Submissions received after this date/time will not be
1. Contact information
Please indicate your FDA region: (Please click here if you do not know your FDA region.)
2. For what FREE-B scenario is your organization requesting funding?
How Sweet It Is(n’t)
In 250 words or less, please describe why your organization selected this scenario and which scenario-
specific objectives you will address by conducting this exercise.
3. Would your organization be interested in conducting an alternate scenario if funding is not available for
the scenario you noted in Question #2?
Yes. Please indicate which scenario and which objectives you would cover within that scenario
How Sweet It Is(n’t)
4. In 250 words or less, please describe why your organization should be selected to receive funding to
support a FREE-B tabletop exercise.
5. Please describe your organization’s current activities related to food defense/food protection (250 words
6. Has your organization received a HHS Education & Training Grant and or other Federal training grants
over the past year? If so, please indicate the type of grant, amount and purpose of grant.
7. Does your jurisdiction have an Emergency Operations Plan with a food emergency annex or appendix?
8. Please describe key outcomes from recent (past 3 years) food protection related tabletop exercises
and/or workshops (if any) in which your organization has participated. If your organization has not
conducted and/or participated in any, please indicate this. (250 words or less)
9. If selected, please describe how your organization will incorporate other agencies, municipalities,
industry, academic community and or/consumer organizations into this process (250 words or less).
10. On what date do you propose that the tabletop exercise be held?
11. In what city/state will this tabletop exercise be held?
12. What is your anticipated number of attendees for this tabletop exercise?
13. In 500 words or less, please briefly describe the amount of funding you are requesting for this exercise
and how the funds will be used. Please note that funds received may be used to support routine meeting
expenses (location, audio visual, handouts, etc). Funds may not be used to support travel other than
mileage to/from the event and can only support food and beverage if it is an integral and necessary part
of the event). Please also include any information on in-kind support that other organizations may be