Food safety group releases guidelines for outbreak response

Published on 07/16/2009 08:10am By Doug Ohlemeier


A food safety industry group formed to improve response to food outbreaks has recommended guidelines to handle future outbreaks.

The Atlanta-based Council to Improve Foodborne Outbreak Response released its Guidelines for Foodborne Disease Outbreak Response July 15.

Targeting federal, state and local agencies, the guidelines provide model practices to be used in food outbreaks, including detection, investigation, control and prevention, according to a news release.

Dr. Tim Jones, council co-chairman and a Tennessee State Epidemiologist said the group hopes the document will help centralize information so investigators at all levels improve outbreak investigations.

“This will help with all the other efforts of those in the produce industry are making progress on,” he said. “The hope is all these groups and industry too needs to be setting at same table and working together in every outbreak investigation. If we all come in with same expectations, guidelines and understanding, we will start on a level playing field rather than each one of us showing up with our own manual and speaking our own language.”

The guidelines aren’t designed to replace current procedure manuals for responding to outbreaks but should instead be used as a reference document to help fill in gaps and update site-specific procedures, the release said.

The council consists of many food safety people and professional associations, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the National Association of County and City Health Officials.

The 200-page report is at the CIFOR site.




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