WHEREAS, we are facing global emerging diseases and New Jersey is not excluded from these risks, which demands that we have in place a diagnostic laboratory capable of new test development, capacity for rapid emergency response in the event of a disease outbreak, and the ability to process samples and report out results rapidly and effectively; and
WHEREAS, the diagnostic laboratory needs to remain relevant, and for this purpose it is important to continue to be a part of the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN), an initiative undertaken by the United States after the United Kingdom’s outbreak of Foot & Mouth Disease (1998) and in response to the 9/11/2001 attack on the United States by terrorists; and
WHEREAS, in a national declaration, it was proposed that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) will partner with selected states to undertake continued surveillance for the potential introduction (intentional or unintentional) of devastating foreign animal diseases to the United States and hence prevent the negative economic and trade effects it would have on the United States economy; and
WHEREAS, in order to keep up with current testing, the Division of Animal Health is required to upgrade its equipment, hire qualified professionals, train staff in the most current techniques, have a laboratory information system (LIMS) that is capable of managing internal data including testing results and reporting, billing and other essential functions, in addition to communicating with our federal partners (USDA) through a secure server and to provide our clients with web access results so they can make quicker diagnoses and respond to diseases in a faster, more efficient manner; and
WHEREAS, in order to be considered for future funding and continuation of NAHLN status, it is required that the Division of Animal Health implement ISO-17025 quality assurance (QA) standards and have a LIMS system capable of messaging USDA in standard set code (HL7); and
WHEREAS, when implementing QA standards and meeting the requisites set forth by the animal diagnostic accreditation body, the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians (AAVLD), the Division of Animal Health will pursue accreditation, endowing the Division with the credibility the laboratory deserves for the quality of work it performs; and
WHEREAS, accreditation means that an impartial outside agency has reviewed the operation of a laboratory and found it to be in accordance to the specifications set forth by the laboratory itself; and most laboratories choose to be accredited according to the International Standards Organization (ISO) Guide 25, which states that the laboratory is sufficiently competent to perform the diagnostic tests it is offering, increasing the trustworthiness of a laboratory; and
WHEREAS, being an accredited laboratory provides the Division national and international recognition and ensures adherence to standards set by the International Organization of Epizooties, the international group that oversees animal health; and
WHEREAS, the future of New Jersey’s animal health relies on the lab’s diagnostic capabilities and the ability to continue to grow and establish itself as a nationally and internationally recognized accredited laboratory.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that we, the delegates to the 94th State Agricultural Convention, assembled in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, on February 11, 2009, support the Animal Diagnostic Laboratory Development and Accreditation Initiative and respectfully urge the Governor and Legislature to work with the Department to further implement the components of that Initiative.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we urge the Governor and Legislature to provide increased funding for hiring of professional staff required for the accreditation of the laboratory; including a board certified pathologist, diener and histotechnician, which will endow us to meet the current demands in animal diseases diagnosis.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we support the NJDA-DAH in acquiring a LIMS for its laboratory and that we respectfully request that the Legislature appropriate a budget to ensure that DAH will be able to continue as an NAHLN lab with its animal disease surveillance, tracking and reporting system to protect the agriculture industry in New Jersey.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we support a mobile laboratory that can be deployed in the event of a disease outbreak and be available for emergency response. Such Lab has been acquired using grants provided by OHS and support efforts are needed to build the infrastructure to use it during non-emergencies during exercises to allow it to remain operational.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we continue to support the Animal Diagnostic Laboratory development and accreditation, essential for national and international recognition.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we urge the state to invest in the Animal Diagnostic Laboratory so that we ensure that diseases (or threats of disease) will be identified quickly and that appropriate action can be taken to prevent the transmission of these diseases which could harm the public or other animals.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we recognize the need for the state to develop the Animal Diagnostic Laboratory and therefore support the expansion of services and accreditation endeavor provided by the Division of Animal Health, Animal Diagnostic Laboratory in order to maintain and enhance the service it offers to New Jersey.