Public Health Command Region-Europe (PHCR-Europe) provides a wide array of public health services for Department of Defense (DoD) personnel in Europe, including food safety and food defense. Using a multifaceted system, personnel from PHCR-Europe assess the safety of food procured by the DoD for troop feeding and commissary sales. Civilian establishments that provide food must meet rigid food manufacturing safety standards and pass extensive audits performed by PHCR-Europe personnel. To help validate the safety of food products, PHCR-Europe also routinely conducts quality, chemical, and microbiological tests on food products in their own accredited laboratory.
Using a multidisciplinary team approach, PHCR-Europe also conducts military dining facility inspections/consultations, food and water risk analyses for various missions in Europe and Africa, food vulnerability assessments for special events, garrison water safety monitoring, and epidemiologic investigations of suspected foodborne illness outbreaks affecting DoD personnel.
PHCR-Europe actively monitors current food safety issues within the region. If a food product is found to pose a health hazard, PHCR-Europe communicates with the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) to determine if any such product is in the DoD food supply chain. In the event that a potentially unsafe product is in the inventory, DeCA traces the product throughout the system from the manufacturer to the consumer, and the highest priority is given to holding and/or recalling such product.
Subject matter experts within PHCR-Europe work together to properly assess, manage, and communicate food and water risks to DoD personnel. A primary focus of PHCR-Europe food safety operations is the assessment of complex and highly technical food manufacturing and preparation processes to ensure that the processes and procedures comply with regulatory requirements. The primary focus is on proper procedures and good practices; testing is performed as verification.