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Surveillance of Foodborne Disease IV. Dissemination and Uses of Surveillance Data

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Comparisons of etiologic agents, vehicles, significant ingredients, place of mishandling, and method of food processing or preparation with specific contributory factors are particularly useful in identifying specific hazards, specifying operations that are candidates for designation as critical control points, and assessing risks. After foodborne disease surveillance data have been received, tabulated, and appropriately interpreted, summary information needs to be disseminated in a timely fashion to those who can use it for preventing foodborne diseases. This action should be taken at all levels of the surveillance network. Surveillance information is used to determine the need for food safety actions, which involves planning and implementing programs and assessing the effectiveness of the actions taken. Uses of the data include (a) developing new policies and procedures and revising priorities, (b) evaluating effectiveness of programs, (c) justifying food safety program budgets based on estimated costs of foodborne illness, (d) modifying regulations so that they relate to contemporary foodborne disease issues, (e) conducting hazard analyses and risk assessments and instituting programs oriented to hazard analysis critical control points (HACCP), (f) starting or improving a public information campaign and educating the public, (g) notifying and training food industry personnel, (h) training agency staff and public health students and professionals, and (i) identifying new problems and research needs from the data. Implementing these approaches will necessitate changes in traditional food safety activities. This four-part series of articles concludes with recommendations to be considered by local, state/provincial, national, and international agencies responsible for foodborne disease surveillance.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Bureau of Microbial Hazards, Food Directorate, Health Protection Branch, Health Canada, Tunney's Pasture, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0L2, Canada 2: Food Protection Section, Bureau of Community Sanitation and Food Protection, State of New York Department of Health, 11 University Place, Room 404, Albany, New York 12204-3399, USA 3: Food Safety Consultation and Training, 8233 Pleasant Hill Road, Lithonia, Georgia 30058, USA

Publication date: June 1, 1997

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    The Journal of Food Protection (JFP) is a refereed monthly publication. Each issue contains scientific research and authoritative review articles reporting on a variety of topics in food science pertaining to food safety and quality. The Journal is internationally recognized as the leading publication in the field of food microbiology with a readership exceeding 11,000 scientists from 70 countries. The Journal of Food Protection is indexed in Index Medicus, Current Contents, BIOSIS, PubMed, Medline, and many others.

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