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e-Learning on Environmental Assessment of Foodborne Illness Outbreaks

Register today for CDC’s free e-Learning on Environmental Assessments of Foodborne Illness Outbreaks.

Screenshot from YouTube food safety training promo video.

Check out our short food safety training promo video.

  • First time here? Register by creating a new account.
  • Already registered? Log on.

NEW! Check out our short video to learn why you should register for CDC’s fun, free, and interactive e-Learning on Environmental Assessment of Foodborne Illness Outbreaks.

Improve Outbreak Response Using Environmental Assessments

The course addresses the role of environmental assessments within the broader context of outbreak investigations and the food safety system. The skills needed to participate in an outbreak investigation are different from those needed to inspect restaurants, and the role of environmental health staff is critical.

This online course is designed specifically for environmental health professionals and food safety program officials in government agencies, as well as those from scientific, industry, and consumer groups. Practice critical skills through simulated exercises, such as interviewing food workers and conducting an environmental assessment of a restaurant implicated in an outbreak. Learn how to

  1. Investigate foodborne illness outbreaks as a member of a larger outbreak response team,
  2. Identify an outbreak’s environmental causes, and
  3. Recommend appropriate control measures.

Apply Environmental Assessment Knowledge

CDC encourages food safety officials to apply their knowledge of environmental assessments by

  1. Conducting environmental assessments during outbreak investigations and
  2. Then reporting data from these assessments to CDC’s National Environmental Assessment Reporting System (NEARS).

Data collected in NEARS will help CDC and other public health professionals prevent outbreaks by understanding why and how they are occurring.

Completion, Certificates, and Continuing Education Units

Screen shot from training module of simulated interview with food worker.

Virtual training exercise of simulated interview with food worker.

The course can be completed in about 8-10 hours.

  • Certificates of completion are awarded to all who successfully finish the course within the first two attempts.
  • Continuing education units (CEUs) are available for free through CDC’s Training and Education Online. CDC is approved as an authorized provider of CEUs by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET), 1760 Old Meadow Road, Suite 500, McLean, VA 22102. CDC is authorized by IACET to offer 0.9 IACET CEUs for this program.

What E-Learning Users Are Saying

“Probably the best online training I’ve ever done! There were lots of interactive portions…I’ve already used some of the questioning tactics…I think it would help any inspector for outbreaks…Two thumbs up!”
Environmental Health Specialist, Minnesota Department of Health

“It is by far the best online training I have taken.”
Jennifer Pierquet, MPH, Iowa Food Safety and Consumer Bureau

Need Additional Assistance?

Those needing technical assistance with registering, logging on, or troubleshooting can email

Persons with disabilities experiencing problems accessing the course should email or call 770-488-3438 and ask for a 508 Accommodation for e-Learning.


This national foodborne illness outbreak environmental assessment course was collaboratively developed by CDC with the help of its Environmental Health Specialists Network (EHS-Net) grantees, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Read the fact sheet [PDF – 176 KB] on the e-Learning course.

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