“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is committed to transparency and keeping the public and stakeholders informed of our work upholding the safety of our food supply. As part of this continued commitment, today we are releasing a new tool to communicate foodborne illness outbreak information frequently and as soon as the FDA begins an outbreak investigation – prior to a public health advisory or recall of a certain food product being issued.
Today our FDA investigation team, the Coordinated Outbreak Response and Evaluation (CORE) Network, is starting the ongoing publication of a new investigation table that will include information on all foodborne outbreaks for which the FDA has initiated an investigation. The table, which will be updated on a weekly basis, will include information about each stage of an outbreak investigation. Currently, a public health advisory or recall is issued for any outbreak investigation that results in specific, actionable steps consumers can take to protect themselves such as a recommendation to not eat a certain type of food or recalled food product. This practice will remain the same.
This new tool will allow the FDA to share information with the public even earlier in the process. However, it is important to note that during the early phases of an investigation, there may not be any specific action that consumers can take while information is being gathered and the investigation develops. For example, in the early stages of an investigation, we may not know what specific commodity or food vehicle is responsible for the illnesses and the time frame in which it was available for purchase. This information is crucial to the development of accurate public health messages to help protect consumers from exposure to potentially contaminated food and enable retailers and consumers to take appropriate actions…”