Major multi-agency incident exercise delivered to the UK Food Standards Agency

Kaarin Goodburn led the Acumentia Consulting Ltd team with Peter Reilly and Dr David Baines, which designed the scenarios and all technical content for a major programme of three exercises in 2014/15 testing the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) new Incident Management Plan.

Acumentia consultants supported RAB Consultants in the design, planning and delivery of Exercise PROMETHEUS which was a programme of three exercises in 2014/15 designed to test the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) new Incident Management Plan and improve the overall response to food incidents in the future working with staff and key partners from government and industry.  The programme included two table-top exercises – one internal and one multi-agency and a two-day multi-agency control-post exercise in March 2015.

Exercise PROMETHEUS Programme

A scenario was designed that escalated the incident to ‘Major’ in accordance with the Incident Management Plan, requiring cross-government response coordinated at Cabinet Office Briefing Room level. The food incident scenario included mycotoxin contamination of grain imported to the United Kingdom and an outbreak of E.coli O157 in Northern Ireland. The exercise commenced with impacts on human and animal health already being reported to the FSA by Public Health England and the Animal and Plant Health Agency.

Exercise PROMETHEUS Scenario Introduction

 

The exercise was delivered across three control-posts in London, Cardiff and Belfast.

The FSA concluded “Exercise Prometheus delivered a successful test of the FSA’s IMP and has identified a number of ways in which we can strengthen our capability and resilience arrangements. It will, amongst other things, result in the development of clearer understanding of how we can work most effectively with the cross-government structures for scientific advice in high-level incidents and will lead to improved management of major food and feed incidents requiring co-ordinated effort from FSA partners and stakeholders.” The post-exercise report has now been published by the FSA.