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CIFOR Toolkit

CIFOR is pleased to announce the release of the Toolkit for the Guidelines for Foodborne Disease Outbreak Response.

The Guidelines for Foodborne Disease Outbreak Response, released in 2009, is a reference document that complements existing procedures to update agency-specific policies, to identify gaps, and to target training of program staff. The document is intended to aid government agencies responsible for investigating, managing, and preventing foodborne disease. This Toolkit has been developed to aid in the implementation of the Guidelines for Foodborne Disease Outbreak Response at the state and local levels. The Toolkit is intended to further the ability of states and cities to understand the contents of the Guidelines and to implement appropriate recommendations from the nine chapters in the Guidelines.

The Toolkit walks public health practitioners through a series of worksheets designed to help jurisdictions identify which recommendations from the Guidelines would be most useful for their jurisdiction. The worksheets divide the Guidelines into twelve focus areas, which cover the most critical elements of outbreak response that are likely to be common to most jurisdictions and most outbreaks. The Toolkit guides users through a range of activities, from describing current activities and procedures, to prioritizing CIFOR Guidelines recommendations to address needed improvements, and finally, making plans to implement the selected recommendations.

CIFOR suggests that you begin with the Table of Contents and Document A, "Toolkit Overview", and proceed through the Toolkit to Focus Areas 1 through 12. You are encouraged to fill out the Participant Evaluation Form and return it to CSTE by e-mail at

Document 0 – CIFOR Toolkit Contents
Document A – Toolkit overview
Document B – Toolkit user instructions
Document C – Toolkit user instructions (Facilitator cheat sheet)
Document D – Preliminaries worksheet
Document E – Selecting focus areas worksheet
Documents F1 – F12
      Focus area 1 – Relationships
      Focus area 2 – Necessary resources
      Focus area 3 – Communications
      Focus area 4 – Notification systems
      Focus area 5 – Pathogen-specific surveillance
      Focus area 6 – Initial steps
      Focus area 7 – Epidemiology investigation
      Focus area 8 – Environmental health investigation
      Focus area 9 – Laboratory investigation
      Focus area 10 – Control of source
      Focus area 11 – Food recall
      Focus area 12 – Secondary spread
Document G – Sample focus area worksheet
Document H – Crosswalks between national initiatives and CIFOR Toolkit
Document I – Toolkit tips for facilitators
Document J – Participant evaluation form

Hard copies may be obtained by contacting Dhara Patel, MPH, at CSTE at (770) 458-3811 or

To learn about how states and other agencies have used the Toolkit, view the CIFOR webinar series “Using the CIFOR Guidelines for Foodborne Disease Outbreak Response and Toolkit for Improving Outbreak Response”. The series was developed in conjunction with University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health webinar series to provide training and education on foodborne disease outbreak response to those at the state and local levels. The webinars include:

  • CIFOR Webinar 1: This webinar is for senior level public health officials and describes how state and local health agencies can use the CIFOR Guidelines for Foodborne Disease Outbreak Response to improve their outbreak response. It also demonstrated how participants can use the CIFOR Toolkit within their agencies. Click here for the archive.

  • CIFOR Webinar 2: This is for any public health official and reviews outbreak investigation methods and show participants how to use the CIFOR Toolkit. Participants also learned about two states’ experiences implementing the Toolkit in order to improve their response to multijurisdictional outbreaks. Click here for the archive.