About PulseNet

Key points

  • PulseNet was established in 1996
  • The mission of PulseNet is to connect foodborne illness cases together using the DNA 'fingerprints' of the bacteria making people sick in order to detect outbreaks


PulseNet is a national laboratory network that connects foodborne, waterborne, and One Health–related illness cases to detect outbreaks. PulseNet uses the DNA fingerprints of bacteria making people sick to detect thousands of local and multistate outbreaks. Since the network began in 1996, PulseNet has improved food safety systems through identifying outbreaks early. This allows investigators to find the source, alert the public sooner, and identify gaps in food safety systems that would not otherwise be recognized. PulseNet International performs a similar role for foodborne illnesses globally.

Whole genome sequencing: transforming food safety with a clearer picture of bacterial DNA
Whole genome sequencing helps identify foodborne bacteria to detect outbreaks