FoodNet Provides Picture
of Public Health in America

By Dustin Volz

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Formed in 1995 as part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Emerging Infections Program, FoodNet is a surveillance system that measures the impact of foodborne illness in the U.S.

The CDC works with other federal agencies and 10 state health departments to operate the network, which covers 15 percent of the U.S. population through FoodNet sites that survey seven states (Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon and Tennessee) and select counties in three other states (California, Colorado and New York).

FoodNet personnel collect confirmed disease data from about 650 laboratories. This audit is performed at least twice a year at each clinical laboratory to ensure no case is missed, making FoodNet’s data more complete and accurate than other surveillance systems.

FoodNet is considered representative of the general population across gender, race and ethnic lines, except for the Hispanic community. Hispanics represent more than 15 percent of the nation’s population but make up 10 percent of FoodNet’s sample.

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