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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


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Interagency Food Safety Analytics Collaboration (IFSAC) Webinar: Improving the Categories Used to Classify Foods Implicated in Outbreaks

FDA partnered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the US Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) in 2011 to form the Interagency Food Safety Analytics Collaboration (IFSAC). This tri-agency analytic collaboration focuses on projects related to foodborne illness source attribution.  

One of IFSAC’s top priorities involves improving the classification of foods implicated in foodborne disease outbreaks. On June 18, 2013 the tri-agency collaboration held its first webinar to discuss the improvements to the food categorization scheme used by regulatory agencies to inform food safety decision-making. 

View the IFSAC Webinar recording on CDC's website.

Key Points

Changes to the food categorization scheme increase the accuracy and specificity of food commodities for generating foodborne illness source attribution estimates that federal agencies use. These improvements include:

  • A better reflection of FDA and FSIS’ regulatory classifications of food,
  • More botanically correct categories, and
  • Closer alignment with production practices and postharvest handling systems.

The new food categorization scheme increased from 17 to 40 terminal food commodities to provide more specific assignments for food vehicles.

Next Steps  

  • Continue to categorize the more than 2,000 foods in the outbreak database using the new scheme.
  • Finalize the new methods designed to obtain improved food information from outbreak reports.

If you have any additional questions, please e-mail us at IFSAC@fda.hhs.gov.

View the second webinar in the series, Are Outbreak Illnesses Representative of Sporadic Illnesses?, for additional information.