ATLANTA — Guidelines for Foodborne Disease Outbreak Response was released July 15 by the Council to Improve Foodborne Outbreak Response (C.I.F.O.R.). Providing model practices used in foodborne disease outbreaks, including planning, detection, investigation, control and prevention, the guidelines are targeted to local, state and federal agencies.

Since experience with and capacity to respond to foodborne disease outbreaks vary in approach between local and state agencies, the guidelines are intended to give all agencies a common foundation from which to work. They also provide examples of the key activities that should occur during the response to outbreaks of foodborne disease.

The guidelines were developed by a broad range of contributors from local, state and federal agencies with expertise in epidemiology, environmental health, laboratory science and communications and are not intended to replace current procedure manuals for responding to outbreaks. The guidelines were also designed for use as a reference document for comparison with existing procedures; to fill in gaps and update site-specific procedures; to provide models for new procedures where they do not exist; and to provide training to program staff.

"It is our hope this document will be useful to investigators at all levels in improving outbreak investigations and serve as a platform for developing local and agency-specific policies and additional tools to support these critical public health activities," said Dr. Tim Jones, Tennessee State epidemiologist and C.I.F.O.R. co-chair.

The document is available in electronic and hard-copy formats for state and local health departments. A foreword by Dr. Michael Osterholm of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy and Michael Taylor, senior advisor to the F.D.A. Commissioner, is included.

The C.I.F.O.R. is a multidisciplinary partnership organized to increase collaboration among food-safety officials at all levels of government and in all areas of the country with the goal of reducing the burden of foodborne illness in the U.S.