Foodborne Disease Outbreak Surveillance
Every year, about 48 million of us, roughly one in six people in the United States, get sick from eating contaminated food—it could be you, your spouse, your kids, your parents, or other loved ones. While most foodborne illnesses are not part of a recognized outbreak, outbreaks provide important information on how germs spread, which foods cause illness, and, how to prevent infection. DC collects reports of foodborne outbreaks due to enteric bacterial, viral, parasitic, and chemical agents from all U.S. states and territories.
Reporting Foodborne Disease Outbreaks to CDC
State, local, and territorial public health agencies report outbreaks to the Foodborne Disease Outbreak Surveillance System through the National Outbreak Reporting System (NORS). The system collects information such as date and location of the outbreak, the number of people who became ill and their symptoms, the food implicated in the outbreak, where the food was prepared and eaten, and the pathogen that caused the outbreak. Starting in 2009, CDC has also collected reports through NORS of enteric disease outbreaks transmitted through water, person-to-person contact, or direct contact with animals. Outbreak reporting is voluntary.
Search Outbreak Reports Using the Foodborne Outbreak Online Database
The Foodborne Outbreak Online Database (FOOD) is an annual listing of foodborne disease outbreaks in the United States (currently data available for 1998–2010) which has been designed to allow the public direct access to information on foodborne outbreaks reported to CDC. For more information, see FOOD Tool Questions and Answers.
CDC Features on Foodborne Disease Outbreak Data:
Tracking and Reporting Foodborne Disease Outbreaks highlights outbreak size, reporting mechanisms, current data, how and where contamination occurs, and CDC’s role in foodborne disease outbreaks.
Annual Summaries and Reports
CDC also publishes summaries of foodborne disease outbreaks and illnesses by etiology and food commodities. These summaries of outbreak investigations reported to CDC by state and local health departments provide important snapshots of the human health impact of foodborne disease outbreaks and the pathogens, foods, settings, and contributing factors (for example, food not kept at the right temperature) involved in these outbreaks.
- 2009-10 MMWR – Surveillance for Foodborne Disease Outbreaks --- United States, 2009-10
- Expanded Table 2 – Attribution to specific food commodities [PDF - 4 pages], 2009-10
- Table 3 – Settings where food was eaten [PDF - 3 pages], 2009-10
- Table 4 – Contributing factors [PDF - 3 pages], 2009-10
- Table 5 – Settings where food was prepared [PDF -3 pages], 2009-10
- 2009-10 Foodborne Surveillance Questions and Answers
- 2008 MMWR – Surveillance for Food Disease Outbreaks --- United States, 2008
- 2007 MMWR - Surveillance for Foodborne Disease Outbreaks --- United States, 2007
- 2006 MMWR - Surveillance for Foodborne Disease Outbreaks --- United States, 2006
- Expanded Table 2 - Attribution to specific food commodities, 2006 PDF - 148 KB
- Surveillance for Foodborne Disease Outbreaks --- United States, 1998—2002
- Surveillance for Foodborne Disease Outbreaks -- United States, 1993-1997
Annual Listing of Foodborne Disease Outbreaks, United States (1990-1997†)
- 1997† PDF - 103 KB
- 1996† PDF - 95 KB
- 1995† PDF - 95 KB
- 1994† PDF - 99 KB
- 1993† PDF - 93 KB
- 1992† PDF - 90 KB
- 1991† PDF - 94 KB
- 1990† PDF - 96 KB
† The food source of contamination for outbreaks reported to CDC 1990–1997 were reviewed, and possibly modified by CDC staff. Therefore, there may be differences between these data and the original data reported by the state.
Note 1: All etiologies are as reported by the state without confirmation of etiology by CDC staff.
Note 2:The above annual listings include information received by CDC after publication of "Surveillance for Foodborne Disease Outbreaks, United States, 1993–1997," (CDC Surveillance Summaries, March 17, 2000; 49/SS01), "Surveillance for Foodborne-Disease Outbreaks, United States, 1998–2002," (CDC Surveillance Summaries, November 10, 2006; 55/SS10), and "Surveillance for Foodborne Disease Outbreaks, United States, 2006," (CDC Weekly, June 12, 2009; 58(22)/609–615). The data provided in the listing may therefore differ from the published summary data.