Food Safety

Food Safety

Ensuring a safe and healthy food supply


ASTHO's food safety program assists state efforts to prevent and respond to outbreaks of foodborne disease and collaborates with national partners and federal agencies to improve the nation's food safety system.

In 2010, ASTHO reconvened its Food Safety Advisory Group (FSAG) to provide advice to ASTHO members on food safety policy issues. The group is made up of senior S/T health agency staff and representatives from ASTHO affiliates. FSAG continues to advise the Environmental Health Policy Committee and the Infectious Diseases Policy Committee on food safety policy and practice issues. FSAG membership roster »


Foodborne Disease Outbreak Response: Assessing the Legal and Institutional Framework for Interagency Information Sharing
This report discusses the legal and institutional framework impacting information sharing during a foodborne disease outbreak. Through legal research, ASTHO created an appendix of state laws and regulations relating to state health agency authority to protect non-public information from public disclosure. This information is available via an interactive map in LawAtlas. In addition, ASTHO surveyed state health agencies to better understand information sharing practices with federal and state food regulatory agencies. The report highlights major findings from our research and provides five recommendations to enhance information sharing.

Partnership for Food Protection July 2014 Quarterly Newsletter
This July 2014 edition of the Partnership for Food Protection (PFP) quarterly newsletter provides information on the work and initiatives that the PFP and its stakeholders are accomplishing as they work to develop and implement a national Integrated Food Safety System (IFSS). The edition also features an update on FDA's 20.88 Long Term Information Sharing Agreement.

Progress in Implementing the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act
The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the most sweeping reform of our food safety laws in more than 70 years, was signed into law by President Obama on January 4, 2011. It aims to ensure the U.S. food supply is safe by shifting the focus from responding to contamination to preventing it. This link provides information on how FDA is progressing with the implementation of FSMA mandates.

Food Safety Alerts

CDC Estimates of Foodborne Illness in the United States (external site)
This web site contains the latest estimates on the number of foodborne illnesses caused by known pathogens and those without a known cause.

FDA Recalls, Market Withdrawals, & Safety Alerts (external site)
This web site includes the most significant product actions of the last 60 days, based on the extent of distribution and the degree of health risk.

USDA-FSIS Recalls and Alerts (external site)
This web site contains summary data on active recall cases.

ASTHO Publications and Resources

ASTHO Raw Milk Issue Brief 2012 (pdf)
This issue brief describes the overall issue with raw milk and contains examples of recent foodborne outbreaks, regulatory options, and the potential economic impact of associated illnesses.

Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety and Preventive Controls Webinar
This interactive webinar, sponsored by ASTHO, describes the FSMA Produce Safety and Preventive Controls Proposed Rules. Speakers include Mr. Mike Taylor, Deputy Commissioner for Foods & Veterinary Medicine, FDA, Mr. Don Kraemer, Senior Advisor, Office of Food Safety, FDA, and Mr. Jim Blumenstock, Chief Program Officer, ASTHO.

Anatomy of a Foodborne Illness Outbreak: A Primer

ASTHO Position Statement: Integration of the Food Safety System

ASTHO Transition Document - State Health Agencies & Food Safety: Responsibilities, Challenges and Opportunities 

Defining Food Safety - A Glossary of Terms 

Experiences and Challenges with Outbreak Response and Investigation: A State Health Agency Perspective 

Putting the Pieces Together - An Analysis of State Response to Foodborne Illness

External Publications and Resources

CIFOR Guidelines for Foodborne Disease Outbreak Response
The Guidelines are intended to serve as a comprehensive source of information on foodborne disease investigation and control for state and local health agencies. To aid in the implementation of the Guidelines, CIFOR has developed a companion Toolkit that contains a series of worksheets designed to help agencies identify which recommendations are best suited for their jurisdictions.

CIFOR Law Project
CIFOR has developed tools to help state and local public health agencies improve legal preparedness for foodborne disease detection and outbreak response. These documents provide guidance for outbreaks both within agencies' jurisdictions and across multiple states and other jurisdictional boundaries.

CIFOR Food Safety Clearinghouse
CIFOR has created an online repository that houses numerous tools and resources for foodborne outbreak detection and response. Developed by state and local health departments, laboratories, academic institutions, non-governmental organizations, and governmental agencies, the CIFOR Clearinghouse facilitates knowledge sharing across jurisdictions.

ORA Outbreak Response Field Guides
To support outbreak response, FDA is developing and issuing a series of outbreak response field guides. You will find the guides as well as videos introducing the guides in the list below. The guides are product/hazard-specific and reflect: the expected steps to undertake during an investigation, the best practices learned over the years, the latest scientific and regulatory thought processes.