Foodborne Disease Outbreak Response Guidelines Released

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USDA and HHS praise guidelines.


Farm Futures Staff


The Council to Improve Foodborne Outbreak Response has released its final Guidelines for Foodborne Disease Outbreak Response. The guidelines are targeted to local, state and federal agencies and provide model practices to use in foodborne disease outbreaks, including planning, detection, investigation, control and prevention. The guidelines are intended to give all agencies a common foundation from which to work and to provide examples of the key activities that should occur during the response to outbreaks of foodborne disease.

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius both voiced their support of the guidelines that were issued.

"Improving food safety is at the forefront of President Obama's agenda, and these guidelines will help local, state and federal agencies to prioritize prevention, strengthen surveillance and enforcement, and improve response and recovery," said Vilsack. "Last week the Obama Administration took an important step forward by introducing tougher standards to reduce salmonella contamination and E. coli outbreaks, and the Guidelines announced today will help government agencies further that goal."

The Guidelines document is not intended to replace current procedure manuals for responding to outbreaks. Instead, it is designed to be used as a reference document for comparison with existing procedures; to fill in gaps and update site-specific procedures; to provide models for new procedures where they do not exist; and to provide training to program staff.

Tennessee State Epidemiologist Dr. Tim Jones, who co-chaired the Council, says this document will be useful to investigators at all levels in improving outbreak investigations and serve as a platform for developing local and agency-specific policies and additional tools to support these critical public health activities.

"I would like to thank CIFOR for their hard work and for this vital contribution toward food safety reform," said Sebelius. "The Guidelines show that by working together, we can all dramatically improve our food safety system and further protect the public health. We hope to further this collaborative effort through the Food Safety Working Group."


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