Foodborne Outbreak Response Team
Team Lead: Laura Gieraltowski, PhD, MPH
CDC’s Foodborne Outbreak Response Team (FORT) works to ensure rapid, coordinated detection and response to multistate foodborne outbreaks of enteric diseases and to promote comprehensive outbreak surveillance and investigation. FORT seeks to improve the collaboration and partnership among officials in local, state, and federal agencies who detect and respond to foodborne enteric disease outbreaks.
In 2017, CDC monitored between 18 and 37 potential food poisoning or related clusters each week, and investigated nearly 200 multistate clusters. These investigations identified confirmed or suspected vehicles of transmission. They also led to recalls of foods including soy nut butter, soft raw milk cheeses, and imported papayas.
The Foodborne Outbreak Response Team:
- Coordinates multistate foodborne outbreak investigations caused by Salmonella, Escherichia coli (E. coli), and Listeria, working closely with state and local health officials to determine the source of infections.
- Collaborates with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Coordinated Outbreak Response and Evaluation Network and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service to have contaminated foods removed from commerce.
- Communicates warnings to consumers during foodborne outbreaks about foods that are contaminated.
- Maintains the data-sharing platform System for Enteric Disease Response, Investigation, and Coordination for multistate outbreak investigations. This system allows local, state and federal investigators to access epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback data on a single, secure platform.
- Provides technical advice and support to state and local health departments and other CDC programs investigating foodborne outbreaks.
- Provides scientific advice on complex outbreak investigations in more than one location .
- Develops tools to facilitate foodborne outbreak investigations.