Jul 15, 2009 (CIDRAP News) A national consortium of groups that have a stake in managing foodborne illness outbreaks today released guidelines for outbreak response, a document that includes model practices for each investigation stage, giving local and state officials a baseline for assessing their current procedures. However, he said public officials’ willingness to implement the model practices will be the factor that improves the nation’s overall outbreak response. “As noted in the forward, it will only be as effective as our commitment to turn the guidelines into action,” he said. He said the CIFOR guidelines also give local and state officials a solid framework for achieving federal standards that address outbreak response. In a nutshell, the guidance promotes faster and better response methods that revolve around better communication and more uniform reporting between local and state officials, he said. For example, surveillance systems and incident logs should be compiled in a manner that’s easily accessible to other agencies. “This truly would identify patterns that aren’t being identified now,” Holmes said. Scott E. Holmes, manager of the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department’s environmental public health division in Lincoln, Neb., told CIDRAP News that it took 2 years to develop the guidelines, which underwent rounds of extensive review and modification. Holmes is NACCHO’s representative on CIFOR. The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) today praised the new CIFOR guidelines. Tom Vilsack, USDA secretary, said in an HHS statement that was e-mailed to journalists that improving food safety is one of President Obama’s top priorities. In the overview section, the authors state that the guidelines are meant to be flexible and include a range of approaches with the rationale for each of them. For example, the guidance details the role of the Incident Command System (ICS), but acknowledges that not all agencies use this system. See also: Applying the guidelines isn’t going to be a major cost for local and state departments, he predicted. “It’s more a matter of doing the actions correctly,” he said, adding that adopting a model practice for some can be as simple as reorganizing how the response work gets done. Jul 7 CIDRAP News story “Officials release food safety plan, egg safety rules” Jul 15 CIFOR press release “The guidelines show that by working together, we can all dramatically improve our food safety system and further protect the public health,” she said. “We hope to further this collaborative effort through the Food Safety Working Group.” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius thanked CIFOR for its vital contribution toward food safety. Sebelius and Vilsack cochair Obama’s food safety group. In March Obama created a Food Safety Working Group, and on Jul 7 it announced its key steps for improving food safety, which included tougher standards to reduce Salmonella contamination, tighter enforcement at beef facilities, building a new trace-back and response system, and improving federal food safety oversight. CIFOR guidelines for foodborne outbreak response The guidelines start with a chapter on the fundamental concepts of surveillance and foodborne disease, followed by sections on planning, outbreak detection, investigation, and control measures. It also includes sections on specific topics such as multijurisdictional outbreaks, legal considerations, and performance indicators for foodborne disease programs. The group that authored the 200-page guidance report, the Council to Improve Foodborne Outbreak Response (CIFOR), is a multidisciplinary partnership of seven professional organizations and three federal agencies that seek to increase collaboration among a range of food safety officials. Its cochairs are the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) and the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO). “The main thing is that this provides state and local departments with the best practices,” Holmes said, adding that there are currently no standardized methods for conducting a foodborne outbreak investigation. For example, some local and state departments use a shotgun approach with their food exposure surveys, while others typically use more targeted survey methods. Some states subtype isolates from patient specimens and submit them to national databases as soon as they receive them, rather than batching them. “Last week the Obama Administration took an important step forward by introducing tougher standards to reduce Salmonella contamination and E coli outbreaks, and the guidelines announced today will help government further that goal,” he said. Craig Hedberg, PhD, a foodborne disease expert at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, who wrote three of the guideline chapters and was a member of the CIFOR guidance work group, said the new document will serve as a yardstick for measuring future outbreak response activities.
Newcastle boss Pardew is expected to be installed as Palace’s new manager ahead of the New Year’s Day trip to Aston Villa. Pardew has been in talks over personal terms with Palace chairman Steve Parish since Newcastle granted permission for the Selhurst Park club to approach their manager. Palace have prioritised signing a left-back and a striker in January’s transfer window, with the club battling to progress plans after sacking manager Neil Warnock on December 27. Warnock had made no secret of the club’s desire to complete a deal for Swansea frontman Gomis. St Etienne president Bernard Calazzo has this week claimed that Gomis will return to his first club, and Palace face competition from several Premier League rivals to land the France striker. Palace’s biggest challenge in January after that will be to retain in-form winger Yannick Bolasie, with the likes of Stoke keen to prise the France-born flyer away from Selhurst Park. Caretaker manager Keith Millen could yet handle affairs at Villa Park on Thursday, and admitted the club must not lose focus on their January transfer targets. “There are players on the list that I’m sure the chairman’s going to go through with the new manager,” said Millen, who will be retained in Pardew’s backroom staff. “I’ve been involved in the discussions with Neil (Warnock) when he was here and the scouting network. “If we can bring in one or two players then we can be at full strength.” Former England striker Bent’s deal at Villa expires at the end of the season, and the 30-year-old has scored two goals in five games in his current loan stint at Brighton. Derby boss Steve McClaren is believed to be interested in taking Bent to Pride Park until the end of the campaign, but Press Association Sport understands Palace are now monitoring proceedings closely. Pardew has been an admirer of Bent ever since the pair worked together at Charlton. Former Crystal Palace midfielder Pardew tried to take Bent to Newcastle in August 2013 before the 13-cap forward opted to join Fulham on loan instead. Alan Pardew could turn to Darren Bent to fill Crystal Palace’s striker void if the Eagles cannot complete a deal for Swansea’s Bafetimbi Gomis. Press Association