Attribution of Foodborne Illness in the United States
Foodborne illness source attribution is the process of estimating the most common food categories responsible for illnesses caused by specific pathogens, such as Salmonella. Multiple sources of data are needed to make attribution estimates, including data from outbreak investigations, infections not associated with outbreaks, and isolations of pathogens from people, animals, and foods.
Determining the sources of foodborne illness is an important part of identifying opportunities to improve food safety. Having a better sense of the relationship between contaminated foods and illness supports food safety along the entire food production chain—from fields where food is grown to cutting boards in kitchens.