Kimberly (Kim) Livsey is a Senior Emergency Response Coordinator in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA's) Office of Regulatory Affairs' (ORA’s) Office of Human and Animal Food Operations. In addition to more than 20 years of federal service at FDA, she has leveraged her expertise in food safety oversight and emergency management at the state and local government levels. Prior to her time at FDA, she was an environmental health specialist with the DeKalb County Board of Health in Decatur, Georgia, where she served as a supervisor and trainer in the food protection program.

Kim has led incident response, management, and command activities on the frontlines of multiple natural disasters, including Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav, and Irma. She has also contributed to leadership and planning for food safety and defense at numerous special event operations, including the international G-8 summit, The World Games 2022, Democratic and Republican political conventions, and Presidential inaugurations.

In March 2022, Kim spent seven weeks leading the ORA Incident Management Team in response to adverse events associated with the use of powdered infant formula products. She and her 37-person team took action as part of FDA’s response, including facility inspection, product sample analysis, consumer complaint triage, state sample request coordination, media inquiry response, and enforcement action initiation.   

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In this episode of Food Safety Matters, we speak with Kim [26:12] about:

  • How FDA leverages the Incident Command System (ICS) to coordinate multiple FDA organizational components to manage incidents, such as foodborne illness outbreaks
  • What Incident Management Teams (IMTs) are, as well as their purpose, structure, and activities
  • The various roles that exist on an IMT and how the personnel to fill those roles are chosen
  • How FDA mobilized an ORA-wide IMT at the field level, for the first time, to investigate and respond to the recent, highly publicized foodborne illness outbreak associated with Abbott Nutrition powdered infant formula
  • Kim’s experience leading an IMT with the Jefferson County Department of Health in Birmingham, Alabama to ensure the safety of food served at the 2022 World Games
  • Essential qualities for an IMT Incident Commander (IC) to embody, and the ways in which efficacious leadership and use of IMTs can impact industry and consumers
  • How FDA responds to foodborne illness outbreaks through its Coordinated Outbreak and Response Network (CORE); its four standing, geographical IMTs; and its rapid response teams (RRTs)
  • The working relationship between FDA’s four standing IMTs and state jurisdictions
  • Why working with and on IMTs can be rewarding.

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