THE Council to Improve Foodborne Outbreak Response (CIFOR) has developed new industry guidelines as voluntary guidance to help outline, clarify and explain the recommended role of retail food establishment owners, operators and managers during a foodborne illness outbreak investigation and what they can expect after being notified of an outbreak.
The "CIFOR Industry Guidelines" provides step-by-step approaches to important aspects of outbreak response, such as preparation, detection, investigation, control and follow-up. By using the CIFOR guide and its tools, food establishments can take an active and educated role in outbreak response and investigation, thereby reducing the negative health impact to the public and negative economic impact to their businesses.
These guidelines were developed by an ongoing public/private partnership consisting of experts from all levels of government and the food industry.
"When there is an outbreak of foodborne illness, the government and the food industry are of one mind. We have to find the cause and stop the outbreak," Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said. "These guidelines and the continued work of CIFOR demonstrate key partnerships and our daily shared commitment to food safety and the health of consumers in the United States."
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack added, "These CIFOR guidelines offer a clear pathway to success in the industry's and government's efforts to ensure that the foods we produce and regulate are safe to eat. Both industry and government have a shared responsibility for the safety of our nation's food supply. By outlining and clarifying specific roles and responsibilities during each outbreak, we develop greater trust and accountability among stakeholders and consumers."
"The National Restaurant Assn. is proud to have played an active role in developing this resource in partnership with state, local and federal public health officials and other industry stakeholders," association president and chief executive officer Dawn Sweeney said. "The CIFOR foodborne illness response guidelines are an important tool for restaurant owners and operators and reflect our industry's commitment to protecting the public health."
Food Marketing Institute president and CEO Leslie G. Sarasin added, "Food safety is core to our principles in the food retail industry and critical to ensuring the efficacy of our businesses. The 'CIFOR Industry Guidelines' demonstrate collaboration between industry and public health professionals to respond more efficiently to the health needs of consumers."