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  1. New Era of Smarter Food Safety

Prevention Strategies to Enhance Food Safety

FDA’s Foodborne Outbreak Response Improvement Plan

When certain disease-causing bacteria or pathogens contaminate food, they can lead to outbreaks of foodborne illness that can result in severe illnesses or even death.

The FDA is responsible for overseeing the safety of the U.S. food supply. When a foodborne illness outbreak occurs, the FDA, through its Coordinated Outbreak Response and Evaluation (CORE) Network, and federal, state, local, territorial tribal, and international public health partners work together to determine what food may have caused the outbreak and how it became contaminated. After the outbreak investigation ends, the information learned, along with historical outbreak and other scientific data, can contribute to the development of a targeted prevention strategy for that food.

A prevention strategy is an affirmative, deliberate approach undertaken by the FDA and stakeholders to help limit or prevent future outbreaks linked to certain FDA-regulated foods. The strategies take from the lessons learned from larger initiatives like the Leafy Green STEC Action Plan, while establishing a scalable approach that can be utilized more frequently. The prevention strategies examine commodity-hazard pairings, potential sources and routes of contamination, and what can be done to reduce incidences of foodborne illness in the future. They also identify existing knowledge gaps and needed areas of focus to inform and promote research and engagement with external stakeholders on steps that can be taken, collaboratively, to protect public health and prevent future outbreaks.

These strategies build on the foundational work established by the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and the FDA Strategy for the Safety of Imported Food, while leveraging data enhancements and modern approaches included in FDA’s New Era of Smarter Food Safety. They also advance the goals set forth in FDA’s Foodborne Outbreak Response Improvement Plan.

As part of this strategy development process, FDA food safety experts engage with industry, state, international and other partners to:

  • Review outbreak trends associated with certain commodities.
  • Explore environmental factors that may contribute to contamination in various locations, such as facilities or in more open landscapes like farms.
  • Review issues related to specific foodborne hazards to identify potential mitigation measures or knowledge gaps.
  • Review regulations to identify provisions that may be strengthened.
  • Identify prevention measures that can be taken to reduce future incidences of foodborne illness.
  • Identify knowledge gaps to expand our understanding of food safety issues and limit recurrences of underlying root causes responsible for an outbreak or adverse event.

Collaboration is critical for food safety success and the prevention of foodborne illness. This page is designed to share the latest information on the FDA’s prevention strategies.  

Prevention Strategy Documents

For questions or more information on FDA’s Prevention Strategies, contact FoodSafetyPreventionStrategies@fda.hhs.gov

Additional Information

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