“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
- A-Z Index for Foodborne Illness
- Foodborne Disease Outbreak Investigation and Surveillance Tools
- Foodborne Outbreak Tracking and Reporting
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:
- Food, Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Information for Use Before and After a Disaster or Emergency
- Keep Food and Water Safe After a Disaster or Emergency
Links to information from outside CDC
- Defining Food Safety: A Glossary of Terms – glossary of environmental health professionals may see in their role of protecting public health in food safety
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
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:
- Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) (Food and Drug Administration) – program that focuses on preventing hazards that could cause foodborne illnesses
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Food Defense & Emergency Response – information about preparing for and responding to intentional contamination of food products:
- Bioterrorism Act 2002 – plans to implement the act
- Food and Cosmetic Security Preventive Measures Guidance – guide to prevent contamination of food for:
- Protecting the Food Supply: FDA Actions on New Bioterrorism Legislation
- Food Related Emergency Exercise Bundle (FREE-B) – is a compilation of scenarios based on both intentional and unintentional food contamination events.
- Restaurants and Grocers Reopening After Hurricanes and Flooding
FoodSafety.gov – government food safety information
National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) – food safety tools from across the nation
- Emergency Handbook for Food Managers [PDF - 397 KB] – quick-reference guide of emergency information for food managers and other supervisory personnel at food service establishments
- Emergency Preparedness and Response Fundamentals: Training for Environmental Health Professionals CD-ROM – toolkit for retail food establishments that includes an emergency handbook of protocols for food managers and an emergency photo education set for food employees and a discussion guide for food managers
- Food Safety & Security Self Audit Checklist – self-audit checklist for food managers that integrates food defense and emergency readiness into elements of food safety management
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
- Environmental Health Emergency Response Guide, Chapter 2: Water Safety and Supply, and Chapter 3: Food Safety [PDF - 658 KB] – provides quick access to needed information before an incident strikes a community
- Food Safety Self Inspection Checklist [PDF - 776 KB] – checklists used by food service establishments for routine food security and safety self-evaluation
- In An Emergency: Discard Or Salvage Fact Sheet [PDF - 40 KB] – table showing disposition of food after emergencies
- In An Emergency: Equipment & Supplies List For Food Service Fact Sheet [PDF - 978 KB] – list in English, Arabic, Chinese, Hmong, Laotian, Oromo, Russian, Somali, Spanish and Vietnamese
- A Biosecurity Checklist for School Foodservice Programs [PDF - 644 KB]
- Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) – agency that ensures the nation’s commercial supply of meat, poultry, and egg products is safe, wholesome, and correctly labeled and packaged
- USDA / NAL Food Safety Information Center – resources for food safety research information
- Environmental Health in Emergencies and Disasters: A Practical Guide Chapter 9 - Food Safety
- Terrorists Threats to Food: Guidance for Establishing and Strengthening Prevention and Response Systems [PDF - 1.44 MB] – guide to prevent, detect, and respond to the deliberate contamination of food