Foodborne Illness and Outbreak Investigations
A Farm to Table Overview
In the United States, an estimated 48 million foodborne illnesses occur each year. A foodborne illness is caused by eating or drinking a contaminated food or beverage.
When two or more people get the same illness from the same contaminated food or drink, the event is called a foodborne outbreak. Illnesses that are not part of outbreaks are called "sporadic."
More than 250 pathogens and toxins are known to cause foodborne illness. Nearly all of them can cause an outbreak.
Here, we explain the importance of tracking foodborne illness and provide a farm to table snapshot of how the public health community detects, investigates, and controls foodborne outbreaks.