"Foodborne outbreak” are two words that bring connotations of misery. But what is a foodborne outbreak? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that when two or more people get the same illness and an investigation shows it came from the same contaminated food or drink, there is a foodborne disease outbreak.
In order to detect and identify outbreaks, CDC employs resources such as PulseNet, online databases, reports of illnesses and more. State and local authorities have the responsibility of investigating outbreaks. Typically, local health departments will investigate outbreaks within their jurisdiction, state regulators get involved when multiple jurisdictions are involved, and CDC steps in when the outbreak is in more than one state. Sounds like a straightforward system, right?