Strengthening and Enhancing Foodborne Outbreak Response Capabilities
By Kirsten Larson , manager , Food Safety
Food safety is an ongoing priority for public health that requires collaboration across multiple disciplines and all levels of government . Developed by APHL , the Council to Improve Foodborne Outbreak Response ( CIFOR ) Food Safety Programs Reference Guide provides a snapshot of this breadth in governmental food safety efforts . CIFOR has recently introduced some new tools and resources to assist public health laboratories in their efforts to detect and respond to foodborne outbreaks ( FBOs ) within their own jurisdictions .
Addressing FBO Collaboration Needs
Given the range of programs and activities outlined in the Reference Guide , it is important to regularly review goals and objectives to maximize relevance and efficacy . CIFOR recently updated its strategic plan to better align with current food safety efforts . Several APHL staff and member representatives from APHL ’ s Foodborne Diseases Committee provided a critical laboratory voice in the strategic planning process and helped ensure that public health laboratory challenges are forefront in the new plan .
The CIFOR Council approved six new strategic goals along with corresponding objectives intended to address ongoing FBO detection and response challenges . Work groups comprised of CIFOR members and discipline-specific experts will be convened in the latter half of 2023 to begin work on strategic goals and objectives .
APHL members interested in participating in any of the work groups should contact Kirsten Larson at kirsten . larson @ aphl . org .
Resources to Address FBO Challenges
As CIFOR looks to the future , it has continued to develop and update tools and products to evaluate program performance , enhance collaboration among stakeholders , improve outbreak surveillance and provide model practices in FBO investigations . Most CIFOR tools and resources are designed with public health laboratories in mind .
● CIFOR Guidelines Learning Modules – The CIFOR Learning Modules provide summaries of the Third Edition CIFOR Guidelines , a comprehensive resource for local , state and federal agencies involved in FBO investigation and control . The modules cover topics such as legal preparedness , planning and preparation , surveillance and outbreak detection , control measures and multijurisdictional outbreaks . After completing these modules , the goal is for learners to seek additional information in the CIFOR Guidelines and partner with other professionals to apply these key points in practice . The modules are available on APHL ’ s Learning Center , and continuing education credits are available upon completion of the modules .
● Third Edition CIFOR Toolkit – The Third Edition CIFOR Toolkit serves as a companion piece to the CIFOR Guidelines and provides hands on tools to help agencies identify which recommendations work best within their jurisdictions . APHL recommends that PHLs meet with epidemiologists and environmental
CIFOR Strategic Goals
Founded in 2006 , CIFOR is a multidisciplinary collaboration among local , state and federal agencies , and multiple public health associations that develops guidelines , tools and products to facilitate effective responses to foodborne outbreaks ( FBOs ).
Goal 1 : Increase the capacity of public health systems to identify and eliminate contributing factors and environmental antecedents associated with foodborne disease outbreaks .
Goal 2 : Increase communication and collaboration among the network of public health professionals responding to foodborne disease outbreaks .
Goal 3 : Improve the ability of public health professionals who investigate foodborne disease outbreaks to implement effective recruitment and retention strategies .
Goal 4 : Identify and promote strategies to reduce the time from specimen collection to completion of whole genome sequence analysis .
Goal 5 : Identify and promote strategies to collect , integrate , analyze and act on data more rapidly and completely during foodborne disease outbreaks .
Goal 6 : Develop and promote model practices and other tools using a cross-organizational , multidisciplinary approach to improve foodborne outbreak investigation .
health staff within their respective jurisdictions to work through sections of the toolkit . A coordinated , multidisciplinary approach ensures that improvements are made across the whole food safety system .
Public health laboratories are encouraged to utilize CIFOR tools and resources to assess , strengthen and enhance their FBO response capabilities , especially in collaboration with cross-disciplined professionals working within their jurisdiction .
For more information on APHL ’ s Food Safety program , please contact foodsafety @ aphl . org . g
24 LAB MATTERS Fall 2023
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