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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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Listeria monocytogenes Risk Assessment: Appendix 4: The Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network

FDA/Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition
USDA/Food Safety and Inspection Service
September 2003

(Appendices 1-4 available in PDF)


The Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet) is a collaborative project of the CDC, nine Emerging Infections Program sites (California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, New York, Maryland, Minnesota, Oregon and Tennessee), the Food Safety and inspection Service (FSIS), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The project consists of active surveillance for foodborne diseases and related epidemiological studies designed to help public health officials better understand the epidemiology of foodborne diseases in the United States.

Foodborne diseases include infections caused by bacteria such as Salmonella, Shigella, Campylobacter, Escherichia coli O157,  Listeria monocytogenes, Yersinia enterocolitica, and Vibrio, and parasites such as Cryptosporidium and Cyclospora. In 1995, FoodNet surveillance began in five locations: California, Connecticut, Georgia, Minnesota and Oregon. Each year the surveillance area, or catchment, has expanded, with the inclusion of additional counties or additional sites (New York and Maryland in 1998, Tennessee in 2000 and Colorado in 2001). The total population of the current catchment is 30.5 million persons, or 10% of the United States population.

FoodNet provides a network for responding to new and emerging foodborne diseases of national importance, monitoring the burden of foodborne diseases, and identifying the sources of specific foodborne diseases.

The mission of FoodNet is to contribute to the prevention of illness, disability, and death due to foodborne and diarrheal diseases by providing high-quality surveillance data. These data help determine the burden of foodborne diseases, monitor changes in the incidence of specific foodborne diseases in the United States, determine the proportion of specific foodborne diseases attributable to specific foods, and contribute to a network designed to respond rapidly to emerging foodborne diseases. FoodNet accomplishes its mission through active surveillance of laboratory-confirmed cases, laboratory studies epidemiologic studies focused on specific infections, other epidemiologic studies, and investigations of outbreaks of foodborne diseases.