National Environmental Assessment Reporting System (NEARS)
Use CDC’s NEARS surveillance system to capture environmental assessment data from foodborne illness outbreak investigations to improve your food safety program.
New to NEARS? Find out how to register for the system and gain access.
Returning NEARS user? Log on.
Why participate in NEARS?
NEARS data can help your food safety program understand outbreaks in your jurisdiction.
Participating in NEARS can help prevent foodborne illness outbreaks associated with restaurants, banquet facilities, schools, and other institutions. Your program can access and use your NEARS data at any time to help you
- Identify environmental causes of outbreaks in your jurisdiction
- Take follow-up action to reduce or prevent future foodborne illness outbreaks
- Evaluate your food safety program and make improvements based on established guidelines
- Develop or modify program policies or regulations
- Focus limited program resources on actions with the highest impact
- Meet the Food and Drug Administration’s Retail Food Program Standards (Standard 5 pdf icon[PDF – 114 KB]external icon)
NEARS data provide critical information to help improve national food safety efforts.
CDC and national food safety partners recommend all food safety programs use NEARS to improve food safety in the United States. Environmental assessments help identify the underlying environmental causes of foodborne illness outbreaks. By participating in NEARS, your program is providing critical data from these assessments to prevent and reduce future outbreaks. CDC and its national food safety partners will
- Analyze NEARS data to understand how and why outbreaks occur and
- Share NEARS findings or recommend actions to better respond to outbreaks and prevent future outbreaks.
Regulatory agencies such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration use information from NEARS to develop intervention strategies and recommended guidelines such as those found in the Food Code. Food safety programs use this information during outbreak investigations and every day for issuing permits and inspecting restaurants and other facilities.
NEARS users find the system helpful for their programs.
“…my first data entry was a pleasantly smooth process… Our Food Safety Program is excited for the clear and consistently organized format we can use to download our data at the end of the year. NEARS appears to be just the tool we needed.” – Food Safety Program, Washington State Department of Health
“[NEARS] increases our conformance with FDA’s Retail Program Standard 5 — Foodborne Illness and Food Defense Preparedness and Response.” – NEARS user, state department of health