Page last reviewed: 06/03/2005
CJD (Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, Classic). Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC). Provides information on CJD and links to related
- Expanded "Mad Cow" Safeguards Announced to Strengthen
Existing Firewalls Against BSE Transmission. News Release, (2004, January 28).
Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy in a Dairy Cow --- Washington State,
2003. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) 52(53);
1280-1285, (2004, January 9).
- Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE). US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
- Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) - About BSE. US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). Provides references to current BSE issues, trade initiatives, and general BSE information.
- Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) Resources. US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) Fact Sheets. Provides links to news releases and transcripts relating to BSE.
- News Release. US Department of Agriculture (USDA)
News Release No. 0457.04, (2004, October 22).
- Veneman Announces Additional Protection Measures To Guard Against BSE.
US Department of Agriculture (USDA) News Release, (2003, December 30).
Foodborne diseases are the illnesses contracted from eating contaminated food or beverages.
Illnesses include foodborne intoxications and infections, which are often incorrectly referred to as
food poisoning. There are more than 250 different foodborne diseases. They
are caused by viruses, bacteria, parasites, toxins, metals, and prions. Symptoms of foodborne
illness range from mild gastroenteritis to life-threatening neurologic, hepatic,
and renal syndromes.
Botulism, Brucellosis, Campylobacter
enteritis, Escherichia coli, Hepatitis A,
Listeriosis, Salmonellosis, Shigellosis, Toxoplasmosis,
Viral gastroenteritis, Taeniasis and Trichinosis are examples of foodborne
The quality of food, and controls used to prevent foodborne diseases, are primarily regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration
(FDA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and local public health
authorities. These diseases may be occupationally related if they affect
the food processors (e.g., poultry processing workers), food preparers and
servers (e.g., cooks, waiters), or workers who are provided food at the
worksite. Foodborne disease is addressed in specific standards for the general
and construction industries.
This section highlights OSHA standards related to foodborne
Twenty-five states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands have
State Plans and have adopted their own standards and enforcement
policies. For the most part, these States adopt standards that are
identical to Federal OSHA. However, some States have adopted different
standards applicable to this topic or may have different enforcement
General Industry (29 CFR 1910)
Construction Industry (29 CFR 1926)
Foodborne disease outbreaks are recognized by the occurrence of illnesses within a
short, but variable, period of time. Illness usually occurs within a few hours to a few
weeks among individuals who have eaten the same food. The following references aid in recognizing hazards associated
with foodborne disease.
- Food Safety. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Provides
links to diseases and pathogens; foods and high-risk groups; outbreak
investigations; labs and surveillance; educational resources; and more.
- Estimates of Foodborne Illness in the United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). CDC estimates that each year roughly 1 in 6 Americans (or 48 million people) gets sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die of foodborne diseases.
- Foodborne Illness, Foodborne Disease, (sometimes called "Food Poisoning"). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Provides answers to frequently asked questions on foodborne illness and disease.
FoodNet Data on the Incidence of Foodborne Illnesses --- Selected Sites,
United States, 1999. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) 49(10); 201-5, (2000,
March 17). Describes preliminary surveillance data on 9 foodborne diseases
for 1999 and compares them with data from 1996 to 1998.
for Foodborne Disease Outbreaks -- United States, 1993-1997. Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Morbidity and Mortality Weekly
Report (MMWR) 49(SS01); 1-51, (2000, March 17). Reviews data on the occurrence and causes of foodborne disease
outbreaks (FBDOs) in the United States from January 1993 through December
1997. Also provides charts of foodborne outbreaks
based on etiology and contributing factors.
- A-Z Index for Foodborne Illness. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC). Provides links to foodborne disease and food safety web pages.
- Bad Bug Book 2nd Edition: Foodborne Pathogenic Microorganisms and Natural Toxins Handbook. US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Provides basic facts regarding foodborne
pathogenic microorganisms and natural toxins. Includes
information from the FDA, Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC), USDA Food Safety Inspection Services,
and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Evaluation and Investigation
Prompt and thorough laboratory evaluation of cases and suspected foods is
essential. Single cases of foodborne disease are difficult to identify unless,
as in botulism, there is a distinctive clinical syndrome. Although foodborne
disease may be one of the most common causes of acute illness, many cases and
outbreaks go unrecognized and unreported. The following links aid in the
evaluation of potential foodborne disease outbreaks.
Report foodborne disease epidemics to local health authorities. Take the following steps when conducting an epidemiological investigation:
- Review reported cases to determine the time and place of exposure and the population at risk.
- Obtain a complete list of foods served.
- Hold and refrigerate all food still available.
- Collect samples of vomit and feces for laboratory testing and inform the laboratory
of suspected contaminants.
- Compare illness rates for specific foods eaten and those not eaten. The suspected
food will usually have the highest associated illness
rates. Most of the sick will have eaten the suspected food.
- Investigate the source of the suspected food and methods of preparation and storage.
- Look for possible sources of contamination and inadequate refrigeration or heating.
- Submit samples of suspected food for laboratory testing.
- Evaluate food handlers for sources of infections, including culture of
lesions, nasal swabs, and feces where appropriate.
Control and Prevention
Control of foodborne diseases is based on avoidance of
contaminated food, destruction of contaminants, and prevention of further spread
of contaminants. Prevention is dependent upon proper cooking and storing
practices, and personal hygiene of food handlers. The following references
provide information on control and prevention for foodborne disease.
Requirements. OSHA, (1999, April 8). Identifies abatement requirements
following inspections resulting from the March 1999 food poisoning outbreak
which occurred among garment workers who had eaten at the company cafeteria.
OSHA has identified health programs to minimize the risk of outbreaks. This
page provides example elements for these programs.
- Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases (DFWED). Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC). DFWED focuses on the control and prevention of disease, disability, and death caused by foodborne, waterborne, and environmentally transmitted infections.
- Enteric Diseases Epidemiology Branch. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Innovative public health investigative and consultative groups that identify
causes, sources and solutions for bacterial foodborne and diarrheal infections
to prevent the disability and death those diseases cause.
- National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) for Enteric Bacteria. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), (2004, November). NARMS monitors antimicrobial resistance of human enteric bacteria,
such as Campylobacter, Salmonella, E. coli,
- Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet).
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Consists of active surveillance for foodborne diseases
and related epidemiologic studies designed to help public health officials
better understand the epidemiology of foodborne diseases in the United States.
- Outbreak Response Team. Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC). Provides outbreak reports and publications, outbreak
reporting and report forms, and a outbreak investigation tool kit.
Irradiation of Food. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Provides answers to common questions about food irradiation, including a basic description of the process, foodborne diseases prevented with irradiation, effects on food/packaging, and Food and Drug Administration (FDA)/US Department of Agriculture (USDA) approval.
Food Code. US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Guides retail outlets, such as restaurants and grocery stores, and
institutions, such as nursing homes, in preventing foodborne illness.
Safety from Farm to Table: A National Food Safety Initiative. US Food
and Drug Administration (FDA), US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), (1997, May). Provides recommendations for the public and
private sectors to minimize the occurrence and consequences of foodborne
Institute of Food Science and Technology (IFST). Answers
questions about food poisoning, food irradiation, and Bovine
Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE).
Related Safety and Health Topics Pages
- Food Safety Research Information Office. US Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Agricultural Library.
Contains a database on foodborne illness educational materials, training programs and
resources, publications, and food safety links.