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The Council to Improve Foodborne Outbreak Response (CIFOR) is a multidisciplinary working group convened to increase collaboration across the country and across relevant areas of expertise in order to reduce the burden of foodborne illness in the United States. The Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) and the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) co-chair CIFOR with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), foodborne illness affects one in six Americans annually. Of the estimated 48 million who become sick from a foodborne illness each year, 128,000 thousand people are hospitalized and 3,000 individuals die. Many organizations are involved in efforts to mitigate the effects of these illnesses on public health. Outbreak identification and investigation is one of the key areas where multidisciplinary public health professionals must collaborate. CIFOR was created to develop and share guidelines, processes, and products that will facilitate good foodborne outbreak response.


CIFOR is pleased to announce the availability of training grants for implementation of the Second Edition of the CIFOR Guidelines for Foodborne Disease Outbreak Response and the CIFOR Toolkit

The purpose of the development of the CIFOR Guidelines for Foodborne Disease Outbreak Response and CIFOR Toolkit is to improve public health foodborne disease outbreak detection and response. The purpose of this funding opportunity is to provide support to interested state, territorial and large urban health departments to provide a training workshop(s) using the Second Edition of the CIFOR Guidelines and CIFOR Toolkit with the aim of integrating recommendations from the Guidelines into the activities of their departments.

To encourage and facilitate the use of the Toolkit, small sub-grants will be awarded to states, territories, and large cities/counties to bring foodborne disease outbreak investigation teams together. During the trainings, these teams will use the Toolkit to begin to determine which recommendations in the Guidelines would be helpful for that jurisdiction to improve foodborne disease outbreak investigation and response.

To view the full details of this funding opportunity, please review the RFP announcement RFP announcement. All eligible applicants are encouraged to submit an application to CSTE at by 5:00 pm Eastern on March 31, 2016. Award recipients will be notified no later than April 15, 2016. For further assistance, technical questions, or inquiries about the application, please email

In the Spotlight

CIFOR is pleased to announce the release of the Outbreaks of Undetermined Etiology (OUE) Guidelines.

The OUE Guidelines are designed to provide recommendations on "universal" collection, shipment, testing, and retention of foodborne outbreak specimens in the event that an etiology is elusive, even in the early stages of an investigation.

The OUE Guidelines cover both infectious and non-infectious agents, and are primarily intended for state health departments that would be making recommendations on specimen collection for foodborne outbreaks. The OUE Guidelines may also be appropriate for some local health departments.

A companion OUE Agent List provides detailed information on infectious and non-infectious agents that can be responsible for foodborne illness. The OUE Guidelines are available on the here and can be accessed as a FileMaker Go iOS application or a runtime Windows version for PC. Learn More

Archived Webinars

CIFOR Guidelines and Toolkit Implementation Webinar for Decision Makers

This webinar is directed towards decision makers including state and local health department directors and program managers. It will cover the burden of foodborne diseases in the U.S., the impact a large outbreak can have on a jurisdiction, and resources that can help improve foodborne outbreak prevention and control efforts (to minimize the impact of foodborne diseases on a jurisdiction). The goal of this webinar will be to motivate decision makers to designate resources to improve foodborne disease outbreak response in their jurisdiction and introduce them to resources that can help them be more successful. 

View Webinar | Download Slides

CIFOR Guidelines and Toolkit Implementation Webinar for Public Health Professionals

This webinar is directed towards public health professionals at the state and local level who are directly involved in foodborne disease surveillance and outbreak detection, investigation, and control. The target audience includes epidemiologists, environmental health specialists and sanitarians, laboratorians, public health nurses, and public health educators. This webinar will help these audiences become more familiar with the CIFOR Guidelines, the CIFOR Toolkit process and materials, and experiences of other health departments in using these resources. The goal will be for audience members to be able to initiate and carry out actions to improve foodborne disease surveillance and outbreak detection and investigation in their jurisdictions.

View Webinar | Download Slides

Featured Clearinghouse Tools:

Product Tracing in Epidemiologic Investigations of Outbreaks due to Commercially Distributed Food Items: Utility, Application, and Considerations White Paper

The effective use of product tracing as part of epidemiologic investigations has been demonstrated in numerous foodborne disease outbreaks. However, the approaches and systems used to conduct product tracing in this context have not been standardized, and the application of this critical tool has not kept pace with the growing number and complexity of cluster investigations. This document attempts to summarize the rationale for conducting product tracing as part of epidemiologic investigations, how product tracing fits in with the rest of an investigation, how it can be conducted most efficiently and effectively, and barriers to its use.

Local and state agencies, including public health, environmental health, and agriculture agencies, are a primary focus of this document. However, because most pertinent outbreaks will be multi-jurisdictional, the federal public health and regulatory agencies also are primary intended audiences because they also are critical collaborators. Learn more.


This project was supported under Cooperative Agreement# U60HM000803 between the Association of Public Health Laboratories and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the developers and do not necessarily represent the official views of APHL or CDC.