Consultant: Technical Assistance on Salmonella New Testing Methodology

  • Entry-level, Short-term contract assignment
  • Posted on 21 April 2021

Job Description

Project Overview

With funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Land O’Lakes Venture 37 is leading an innovative, demand-driven Food for Progress Safety and Quality Investment in Livestock (SQIL) project to improve food safety and quality along Georgia’s dairy and beef value chains. Throughout the project, Land O’Lakes is partnering with the Georgian Farmers’ Association, uniting agribusiness know-how with industry leading food safety acumen and deep Georgian agribusiness connections. From farm-to-fork, this project aims to reduce losses, improve food safety and quality, boost competitiveness, productivity and trade within the Georgian dairy and beef market systems.

SQIL is being implemented through targeted facilitative interventions that identify and support entrepreneurs within the dairy and beef market systems with the attitude and willingness to become more competitive. SQIL initiatives also reflect a commitment to increasing opportunities for women and young people and improved resilience to climate change.

Goal / Objectives of the Assignment

According to the Epidemiology Bulletin – 2016 of the National Center for Disease Control and Public Health of the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Labor, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia, food-borne diseases are more or less frequently registered in all countries of the world and the incidence of this pathology is quite high in Georgia. According to statistics from 2012-2016, the share of cases of unknown etiology is very high in Georgia, which is mainly due to the nosology of suspected food poisoning; However, the number of such cases is increasing from year to year.

Salmonellosis dominates among food poisoning infections of defined etiology. In 2012-2016, 10,489 cases of suspected food poisoning were registered. During the same period, the bacterial etiology of food-borne disease was established only in 1,194 cases, out of which 68% (809) were caused by salmonella.

The successful implementation of the above planned interventions will lead to the improvement of the epidemiological investigation of an outbreak(s) of foodborne diseases carried out in cooperation with the GoG agencies’ competent authorities. Consequently, it will contribute into the coordinated antimicrobial resistance monitoring program of the country that detects Salmonella contaminations in a timely manner in the entire food chain (animal feed, living animals, slaughterhouses, retail sector, and restaurants), together with sanitary measures and prevents human Salmonella infections. Therefore, development of rapid and sensitive methods for the detection and characterization of Salmonella may have a significant impact on the disease burden caused by this pathogen.

In addition, as this activity will lead to establishing modern, in-depth methods of Salmonella species diagnostics sectoral businesses, such as dairy and meat producers and processors, will also benefit since they will have advanced capacity in the country to prove compliance of their products to local food safety regulations. This activity will also enhance GoG in implementing state food safety control activities.

Key Activities/Tasks

The remote international STTA is expected to execute the tasks that will be inclusive of the following performance:

  • Assessment of the LEPL State Laboratory of Agriculture (SLA) needs in terms of serological analysis of Salmonella, by acknowledging SLA’s technical, material, and personnel capacity. Review of Georgian legislation requirements for food safety control procedures, food sampling methodologies and food safety parameters related to Salmonella. After conclusion of assessment and review, share the needs assessment report with SQIL and LEPL State Laboratory.
  • Based on the elaborated needs assessment report, considering the technical, material, and personal capacity of the SLA, select the analytical reference method for serological analysis of Salmonella, which will be in line with legislation requirement. Share the documentation of the methodology (including manuals, handouts, SOP, etc.) with SQIL and SLA.
  • Implementation of the selected reference method of serological analysis of Salmonella by providing technical assistance for:
    • Environment and premises of laboratory,
    • Identifying the standardized reference methods and describing in-house methods,
    • Ensuring the most up-to-date version of methods to be used,
    • Equipment preparation and sample handling,
    • Validation of in-house methods and ensuring standardized reference method to be fully followed to the letter,
    • Outline the process for the analytical calibration of the selected standards,
    • Outline repeatability and accuracy control,
    • Acceptance/rejection criteria,
    • Validation of results,
    • Uncertainties
    • Validation of the software
    • Reagent and material preparation,
    • Characteristics of operational steps,
    • Calibration, quality control (QC), and proficiency testing materials,
    • Reagent and material preparation,
    • Characteristics of operational steps,
    • Interpretation and judgment.
  • Conduct remote training/workshop to provide the aspiring SLA personal with the knowledge and understanding they need to perform their duties with skill and competence when performing the serological analysis of Salmonella. To assure adherence to workplan, provide online-mentorship meetings (based on e-mail and other IT tools as needed) once a month with participation of the SQIL staff.
  • For implementation of the selected reference method and checking the on-going progress of the process through the conducting trainings/workshops for SLA laboratory personnel, the international STTA will potentially visit the laboratory two or three times in the period May 1, 2021 – December 12, 2021 for a minimum of 5 working days periods (A total of minimum 3 international travels to Georgia), if travel becomes possible. If international travel remains a concern, the assignment will be conducted remotely via a videoconferencing platform.

The consultant will work in close coordination of SQIL technical staff. The consultant will be responsible solely for development of the requested materials/services. All other logistic issues including international and local travel, workshop organization, translation, printing, and dissemination of materials will be undertaken by the SQIL project.

All interested candidates should submit their proposals with the following information:

· Curriculum Vitae (CV) that should also include references of past employers.

· Physical and Email address, phone number (if not indicated in CV)

· Documents certifying education/qualification.

· Past performance providing a chronological list of implemented similar projects (information must include brief description of work performed).

· Proposed budget

All proposals must be submitted in English by 17:00 Georgian Local Time on, May 7, 2021. Please submit electronic proposals to RTsiklauri@landolakes.org. Late proposals will not be accepted.

About the Organization

Land O'Lakes Venture37 is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit committed to helping communities around the world build economies by strengthening local agriculture, helping agribusinesses create jobs and linking farmers to markets. Since 1981, it has implemented over 315 integrated dairy, livestock and crops development programs in nearly 80 countries — creating lasting impact by linking farmers, businesses, and the public and private sector in local and global contexts. Land O’Lakes Venture37’s long-standing affiliation with Land O’Lakes, Inc. sets it apart. Land O’Lakes, Inc. is one of America’s largest farmer-owned cooperatives. It supports Land O’Lakes Venture37 project implementation with nearly 100 years of expertise in dairy, animal nutrition, crop inputs and agricultural insights and technologies. This gives Land O’Lakes Venture37 development projects a unique global view of agriculture, food and the power of well-functioning market systems. Land O’Lakes, Inc. supports these efforts as part of its enterprise purpose of Feeding Human Progress at home and around the world.

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