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Improving Attribution Through Partnership

Interagency Food Safety Analytics Collaboration (IFSAC)

While CDC does not have regulatory authority for many food safety policies, the data that CDC collects and shares can influence policy and programmatic development through FDA and FSIS.

CDC partnered with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the US Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) in 2011 to form the Interagency Food Safety Analytics Collaboration (IFSAC). This tri-agency analytic collaboration focuses on foodborne illness source attribution. The group operates with the understanding that data improvements and development of multiple analytic methods are needed to generate good estimates across the broad range of food commodities and along all points in the food supply chain. More refined estimates will be provided in the future by bringing together additional data from across CDC, FDA and FSIS and evaluating methods for analyzing them.



CDC, FDA, and FSIS held a public meeting and developed a strategic plan for IFSAC that was presented in January 2012 1. Scientists from the three agencies collaborate and hold weekly telephone meetings on select projects to improve attribution estimates.

  • Examining the limitations of attribution estimates calculated from outbreak data;
  • Evaluating the potential usefulness of a pathogen subtype model to attribute Salmonella infections to food commodities;
  • Improving the way foods are classified into food commodities, or categories;
  • Developing standard approaches for using outbreak data to attribute illnesses caused by four major pathogens (Salmonella, Listeria, E. coli, and Campylobacter) to food commodities; and
  • Determining the best approach to estimate the proportion of Salmonella enterica serotype Enteritidis infections attributable to shell eggs and other major commodities

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Hands stacked on top of each otherIFSAC is committed to strong partnerships. Improvements in food safety depend on productive relationships between regulatory and non-regulatory partners—including industry, academia, and consumer groups—for data analysis, interpretation, and application.


IFSAC Webinars

Webinar #2: Progress toward Attribution of Foodborne Illness

Webinar #1: Improving the Categories Used to Classify Foods Implicated in Outbreaks

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