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CDC Food Safety Office

CDC's Food Safety Office helps lead CDC in the prevention of illness, disability, and death due to foodborne diseases.

To achieve this mission, FSO conducts many activities within CDC, across the country, and in international settings. These activities include:

  • Supporting projects that build epidemiology, laboratory, and environmental health capacity on the state and local levels.
  • Providing information and recommendations based on public health surveillance and epidemiology that have implications for food safety policies.
  • Participating in partnerships that inform consumers, healthcare providers, public health professionals, and others in the public and private sectors about prevention and management of foodborne illnesses.
  • Maintaining links with the US Food and Drug Administration and US Department of Agriculture through liaisons.
  • Evaluating and improving programs through external peer reviews, case research projects, and after action reviews.

Food Safety Office Functions

Foodborne Illness Prevention and Investigation

  • Agency Representation
    • Serve a food safety representative, focal point, or point-of-contact when disease-specific representation is not practical or appropriate.
  • Budget and Planning
    • Serve a supporting role in the budget and planning process for food safety.
  • Policy Development
    • Support the process by which CDC scientists and applicable data can inform new or updated food regulatory standards and guidance policy. This is accomplished with many partners: FDA, USDA, other parts of CDC, state/local health departments, and national associations and organizations.
  • Capacity Building
    • Facilitate building the capacity of local, state, federal and international public health programs to track foodborne disease and detect, investigate, report, and control outbreaks of foodborne disease, and prevent future outbreaks.
  • Information, Education, and Communication
    • Facilitate domestic and international food safety education, information & communication efforts for various audiences.
  • Program Evaluation
    • Conduct external reviews.

Food Defense

  • Prevent and respond to intentional contamination of the food supply and improve detection of threat agents and response capacity.


  • Serve as facilitator between FDA, USDA, other parts of CDC and other partners, including state and local officials on various cross-cutting food safety issues related to investigations, harmonizing public health messages, capacity building, and public health policy.

Additional Information

The Americans With Disabilities Act requires CDC to regularly update a list of contagious illnesses spread through food handing.
Diseases Transmitted through the Food Supply [PDF - 4 pages]

A 2009 review found seven areas in CDC’s foodborne disease program that have major, but correctable, needs.
CDC Program Response to the 2009 External Peer Review [PDF - 4 pages]

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