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Integrated Food Safety Centers of Excellence: FAQs

What are Integrated Food Safety Centers of Excellence?

The Centers are partnerships between designated state health departments and academic institutions that serve as resources for local, state, and federal public health professionals to respond to foodborne illness outbreaks.

Which states serve as Center sites?

How were these states chosen?

The Centers went through a competitive process in which an objective review panel evaluated applications. The review panel scored and ranked the applications and CDC designated the five states scoring the highest on their applications as the initial Integrated Food Safety Centers of Excellence in 2012.  A similar process was used in 2015 to designate a sixth Center in the Northeast region that had been underserved.

What is the relationship between the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and the Integrated Food Safety Centers?

The Food Safety Modernization Act [PDF - 89 pages] required CDC to designate five Integrated Food Safety Centers of Excellence and allows for designation of additional regional Centers of Excellence. With CDC's leadership, these Centers will provide technical help and training on epidemiological, laboratory, and environmental investigations of foodborne illness outbreaks and associated analyses.

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What are the Centers' main activity areas?

The Integrated Food Safety Centers:

  • Collaborate with public health professionals to strengthen foodborne illness surveillance and outbreak investigations.
  • Analyze the timeliness and effectiveness of foodborne illness surveillance and outbreak response activities.
  • Train state and local public health personnel in epidemiological and environmental investigation of foodborne illness, including timeliness, coordination, and standardization of the investigation process.
  • Establish fellowships, stipends, and scholarships to educate future epidemiology and food safety leaders in foodborne disease surveillance and outbreak investigation and to address critical workforce shortages.
  • Strengthen capacity to participate in foodborne illness surveillance and environmental assessment information systems.
  • Conduct food safety program evaluations and outreach activities focused on increasing prevention, communication, and education.

How does CDC support the Centers?

  • Offers subject matter expertise, consultation, and technical assistance.
  • Helps with metrics, monitoring, and evaluation of public health programs and impacts.
  • Coordinates national activities, when appropriate.
  • Collaborates on specific activities to build a workable infrastructure.
  • Provides project funding for the activity areas.

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