When two or more people get the same illness from the same contaminated food or drink, the event is called a foodborne outbreak. FDA investigates outbreaks to control them, so more people do not get sick in the outbreak, and to learn how to prevent similar outbreaks from happening in the future. Learn how outbreaks are investigated below.
View Recent Outbreaks.
CORE includes a Signals and Surveillance Team, three Response Teams, and a Post-Response Team. An investigation coordinated by CORE begins with the Signals and Surveillance Team.
The Signals and Surveillance Team is all about early detection that will limit or prevent illness linked to dietary supplements, cosmetics, and foods for both people and animals regulated by the FDA. Team members comb through information that is reported into various databases by local and state health agencies and even search through news stories. The team members are looking for “signals” or “red flags” that could be an early warning of a pending outbreak. They discuss emerging disease surveillance trends directly with CDC and, through FDA field offices, with state health agencies. In addition, the Signals Team searches FDA data for historical information on firms, such as past inspections or sampling results, all in an effort to “connect the dots.”
Once an outbreak related to an FDA-regulated product is identified, all of the available information is handed over to one of the three response teams. Response Teams have one goal: to control and stop the outbreak. First, they must find the source and then they must ensure contaminated product is taken out of circulation. To do that, a Response Team works directly with the FDA field offices and their investigators on a response strategy. In a combined effort, the team, field offices and state and local agencies track down leads, and trace product distribution. The information provided through this detective work is evaluated against the information on illnesses to make sure the investigators are on the right track. Close coordination among the FDA, CDC, and state and local regulatory, public health and agriculture departments is crucial to stopping an outbreak. CORE is the coordination point for all FDA resources.
When the active response to an outbreak is complete, the CORE Response Team transfers responsibility to the Post-Response Team. This team looks at all aspects and factors of the outbreak, from ingredient sourcing to production and distribution, including from foreign countries. Team members work to identify the source of an outbreak and how the contamination could be prevented in the future. Their work may lead to new research on how contamination can occur, or it may lead to outreach to industry and other food safety agency partners on new ways to prevent future outbreaks. Improving FDA internal processes is also a key interest of the team, which evaluates, along with other federal and state partners, the FDA response in order to incorporate lessons learned and constantly improve future responses.
From the beginning of CORE operations, in August 2011, through 2014, CORE teams have evaluated 477 potential foodborne illness incidents and identified and investigated 98 outbreaks suspected of being linked to FDA-regulated products.
|Year||Incidents Evaluated||Outbreaks Investigated|
FDA Investigated Listeria monocytogenes Illnesses Linked to Caramel Apples FDA Investigated Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis Linked to Mung Bean Sprouts Produced by Wonton Foods Inc. of New York FDA Investigates Presence of Mucormycosis-causing Mold in Infant and Children’s Probiotic Supplement FDA Investigated Listeria monocytogenes in Sprouts from Wholesome Soy Products, Inc.
- FDA Investigates Presence of Listeria in Hispanic-style Cheese
FDA Investigates Outbreak of Cyclosporiasis FDA Investigates Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Braenderup linked to Nut Butter Products Manufactured by nSpired Natural Foods Inc. FDA Investigated Outbreak of Salmonella Newport, Salmonella Hartford, and Salmonella Oranienburg Linked to Organic Sprouted Chia Seed Powder FDA Investigates Multistate Outbreak of E. coli O121 Infections Linked to Consumption of Raw Clover Sprouts FDA Investigates Outbreak of Human Salmonella Typhimurium Infections Linked to Frozen Feeder Rodents Packaged by Reptile Industries Inc. FDA Investigates presence of Listeria in some Hispanic-style Cheeses FDA Investigates Illnesses linked to Uncle Ben's Infused Rice FDA Investigates Puffer Fish Poisoning Illness in Virginia FDA Investigates Outbreak of Salmonella Stanley Linked to Cashew Cheese from The Cultured Kitchen®[ARCHIVED]
FDA Investigation Summary - Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Senftenberg Infections Associated with Pistachios from a California Roaster Lettuce: FDA Investigation Summary - Multistate Outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 Illnesses Linked to Ready-to-Eat Salads FDA Investigation Summary: Acute Hepatitis Illnesses Linked to Certain OxyElite Pro Products
- FDA Investigates Multistate Outbreak of Cyclosporiasis
- Cheese: FDA Investigates a multi-state outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes linked to certain Crave Brothers Farmstead Classics Cheeses
- Frozen Food: FDA Investigates Multistate Outbreak of Hepatitis A Illnesses Associated with Pomegranate seeds from Turkish Importer
- Tahini: FDA Investigates Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Montevideo and Salmonella Mbandaka Linked to Krinos Brand Tahini Sesame Paste [ARCHIVED]
- Cucumbers: FDA Investigation Summary - Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Saintpaul linked to cucumbers supplied by Daniel Cardenas Izabal and Miracle Greenhouse
- Frozen Food: FDA Investigation Summary - Multistate Outbreak of E. coli O121 Illnesses Possibly Linked to Certain Farm Rich Products
- Spinach and Spring Mix: FDA Investigates E.coli O157:H7 Illnesses Linked to Organic Spinach and Spring Mix Blend
- Mangoes: FDA Investigation Summary - Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Braenderup Infections Associated with Mangoes [ARCHIVED]
Sprouts: FDA Investigation Summary - Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Cubana Infections Associated with Sprouts From an Arizona Sprouter[ARCHIVED]
- Peanut Butter: FDA Investigation Summary - Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Bredeney Infections Linked to Peanut Butter made by Sunland Inc. [ARCHIVED]
- Cantaloupes: FDA Investigation Summary: Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium and Salmonella Newport Infections Linked to Cantaloupe Grown at Chamberlain Farms in Southwest Indiana [ARCHIVED]
- Cheese: FDA Investigates a Multistate Outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes Infections Linked to Imported Frescolina Marte Brand Ricotta Salata Cheese [ARCHIVED]
- Raw Tuna: Investigation of Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Bareilly and Salmonella Nchanga Infections Associated with Nakaochi Scrape AA or AAA Frozen Raw Tuna from India [ARCHIVED]
- Raw Clover Sprouts: Investigation of Multistate Outbreak of E. coli O26 Infections Linked to Consumption of Raw Clover Sprouts [ARCHIVED]
- Dry Pet Food: Investigation of Multistate Outbreak of Human Infections Linked to Dry Pet Food [ARCHIVED]
- Frozen Oysters: Recall Expanded for Frozen Oysters Imported from Korea [ARCHIVED]
- Frozen Ground Tuna: Consumer Safety Information on the Recalled Frozen Ground Tuna from Osamu Corporation [ARCHIVED]
- Pine Nuts: FDA Confirms Salmonella on Sunrise Commodities’ Turkish Pine Nuts [ARCHIVED]
- Whole Cantaloupes: Information on the Recalled Jensen Farms Whole Cantaloupes [ARCHIVED]