​​​​​​​The Coun​​​cil to Improve Foodborne Outbreak Response (CIFOR) is a multidisciplinary collaboration of national associations and local, state and federal agencies representing epidemiology programs, environmental health programs, public health laboratories and regulatory agencies. Since 2006, CIFOR has worked together to improve methods to detect, investigate, control, and prevent foodborne disease outbreaks. The food industry is represented on the CIFOR Industry Workgroup.

As a founding member of CIFOR, APHL provides a laboratory perspective within the Council as it works to identify barriers to rapid, accurate detection and investigation of foodborne disease outbreaks. APHL proposes projects to address these barriers, notably those that impede laboratory response to foodborne illness.

CIFOR Resources for Detection and Response to Foodborne Disease Outbreaks

CIFOR identifies barriers to rapid detection and response to foodborne disease outbreaks and develops products that address these barriers. The resources below can assist public health laboratories and other agencies involved in foodborne outbreak response to:

  • Enhance collaboration among stakeholders

  • Identify model practices for foodborne disease investigations

  • Promote the value of molecular surveillance of foodborne illnesses

CIFOR Guidelines for Foodborne Disease Outbreak Response & Companion Toolkit, 3rd Edition

The CIFOR Guidelines for Foodborne Disease Outbreak Response (CIFOR Guidelines) serve as a comprehensive source of information on foodborne disease outbreak investigation and control for state and local health agencies. The CIFOR Guidelines describe the overall approach to addressing foodborne disease outbreaks, including preparation, detection, investigation, control and follow-up, and the roles of key organizations in foodborne disease outbreaks

Designed to aid in the implementation of the CIFOR Guidelines, CIFOR created a companion CIFOR Toolkit that contains a series of worksheets and "keys to success" (model program activities). The CIFOR Toolkit helps state and local health departments understand the contents of the Guidelines, furthers their ability to conduct self-assessments of their outbreak detection and investigation procedures, and facilitates implementation of appropriate recommendations from the nine chapters in the CIFOR Guidelines.

CIFOR Outbreaks of Undetermined Etiology Guidelines and Agent List

The CIFOR Outbreaks of Undetermined Etiology (OUE) Guidelines include recommendations on "universal" collection, shipment, testing and retention of foodborne outbreak specimens, even in the early stages of an investigation. Based on syndromes and specific outbreak profiles, the guidelines are designed to provide adequate specimens for second-tier testing and pathogen discovery should an etiology prove elusive.

The OUE Guidelines cover both infectious and non-infectious agents. A companion OUE Agent List provides detailed information on each agent including incubation period, primary signs and symptoms, primary specimen(s) and key epidemiological information.

In collaboration with the CIFOR OUE Guidelines Work Group, the Oregon Department of Health developed an application-based, interactive version of the OUE Guidelines. The electronic tool provides guidance on recommended "universal" outbreak specimen collection, shipping information, recommended rule-out testing and long-term storage for negative specimens.

CIFOR Food Safety Program Reference Guide​

The CIFOR Food Safety Programs Reference Guide provides a snapshot of current governmental food safety efforts aimed at detecting, investigating, controlling, or preventing foodborne illness in the United States. It is not intended to be an exhaustive, all-encompassing list of food safety activities across all sectors. The guide will help public health agencies to align activities, carry out collaborative projects, implement common strategies, and avoid costly duplication of efforts.​​

Other CIFOR Products and Resources