"Attribution" refers to attempts to assign illness caused by various enteric pathogens to specific food commodities. Such "attribution" may be done at several levels, including animal reservoirs (e.g., cattle), food-processing plants (e.g., slaughterhouses or packaging plants), retail foods (e.g., ground beef), or even specific foods eaten (e.g., tacos).
In an outbreak of foodborne disease, the specific food source may be learned with certainty. In the case of "sporadic" cases of foodborne illness, however, food sources cannot be attributed with certainty, but must be inferred. Such inferences may be based on various data sources, including types of pathogens found in various food animals, the foods implicated as causes of outbreaks, or even by asking experts what their best guesses are.
This page is intended to highlight some of the efforts being made by FoodNet to attribute enteric illnesses to food sources and to offer links to efforts being made by other experts in foodborne illness.
Food Safety Regulations
Articles of Interest
- CDC Annual Summaries of Foodborne Outbreaks
- Attribution of Foodborne Illnesses, Hospitalizations, and Deaths to Food
Commodities by using Outbreak Data, United States, 1998–2008 (CDC, Emerging Infectious Diseases, March 2013)
- Application of Foodborne Pathog Dis 2011 April 8(4) Bayesian Model for Salmonellosis Attribution (pdf)
- Marked Campylobacteriosis Decline After Interventions Aimed at Poultry, New Zealand
- The 10 Pathogen-Food Combinations with the Greatest Burden on Public Health, 2011
- National Academy of Sciences. Letter Report on the Review of the Food Safety and Inspection Service Proposed Risk-Based Approach to and Application of Public-Health Attribution, 2009
- Attributions Bibliography (pdf)
- Batz MB, Doyle MP, Morris G, Jr., et al. Attributing illness to food. Emerg Infect Dis 2005;11:993-9
- Adak GK, Meakins SM, Yip H, Lopman BA, O'Brien SJ. Disease risks from foods, England and Wales, 1996-2000. Emerg Infect Dis 2005;11:365-72
- CDC. Multistate surveillance for food-handling, preparation, and consumption behaviors associated with foodborne diseases: 1995 and 1996 BRFSS food-safety questions (pdf)