CDC and NACCHO Resources for Responding to Outbreaks of Foodborne Illness

By Erin Roberts, MPH, Program Analyst, Environmental Health, Pandemic Preparedness & Catastrophic Response and Amy Chang, MS, Program Assistant, Environmental Health at NACCHO.

Local health departments (LHDs) are on the front lines of foodborne illness prevention and response. In the face of budget cuts and staff reductions, LHDs are responsible for food safety inspections, epidemiological surveillance, the investigation of foodborne illness, and educating the public on food safety.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released two e-learning tools that will assist LHDs in their work around food safety. The first is a free, interactive course on Environmental Assessment of Foodborne Illness Outbreaks. The course teaches participants how to investigate foodborne illness outbreaks as part of a larger team, how to identify the environmental causes of an outbreak, and how to form recommendations around control measures.

The second tool is the National Voluntary Environmental Assessment Information System (NVEAIS). LHDs are encouraged to register and provide data pulled from their foodborne illness investigations. The system fosters information sharing between LHDs to improve response to, and prevention of, future outbreaks.

For additional resources, NACCHO has several food safety initiatives to support local health departments:

About Erin Roberts

Erin Roberts, MPH, is a Program Analyst on the Environmental Health, Pandemic Preparedness, and Catastrophic Response team at NACCHO. Her work includes broadening the public's access to medical countermeasures during a severe pandemic, fostering collaboration between public health and pharmacy, and contributing to NACCHO's food safety initiatives.

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