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Food Protection

Woman shopping for Vegetables

“Modern technology has transformed the production, storage, and preparation of food. What once was a relatively simple system of local farming and home preparation is today complex involving producers, processors, distributors, and retailers. As a result, at many points in the food chain, food safety becomes compromised.” Moeller, D.W. Environmental Health, Harvard University Press; 1997.

Environmental health practitioners are the front-line troops in the protection of food. They conduct regular inspections and provide education on a daily basis to prevent foodborne outbreaks.

When foodborne outbreaks do occur, practitioners respond to determine the cause and source of illness. Usually, outbreaks are naturally occurring, but with terrorist threats, intentional contamination must be considered.

This section provides specific information on how practitioners can effectively prevent and respond to foodborne outbreaks and emphasizes food-security related issues.

CDC Food Safety – conducts surveillance on foodborne diseases related to bacterial, parasitic, viral, and noninfectious agents

CDC Outbreak Response Team – conducts surveillance on foodborne infections and outbreaks and assists with investigation of foodborne disease outbreaks

CDC Emergency Preparedness and Response – how to prepare, plan, and respond to food safety after disasters:

Links to information from outside CDC

Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO)

Emergency Action Plans for Retail Food Establishments (Michigan Department of Agriculture) – guide for retail grocery and food service establishments to plan and respond to emergencies that create the potential for an imminent health hazard

Facilitator's Guide to Foodborne Illness Tabletop (Public Health Foundation) – course to assist facilitators of the tabletop exercise in successfully running the exercise [register here first]

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition – information about ensuring that the nation's food supply is safe, sanitary, wholesome, and honestly labeled:

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Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Food Defense & Emergency Response – information about preparing for and responding to intentional contamination of food products:

FoodSafety.gov – government food safety information

National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) – food safety tools from across the nation

Safe Handling of Food and Water in a Hurricane or Related Disaster – food handling recommendations for disaster and emergency situations

The Twin Cities Metro Advanced Practice Center – tools and resources for preparedness that can be used by public health departments nationwide, including

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

World Health Organization (WHO)

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