Most foodborne outbreaks occur in retail food establishments like restaurants. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) looked at 403 foodborne outbreaks reported to CDC’s National Environmental Assessment Reporting System (NEARS).
An environmental assessment is an important part of outbreak investigations. It can determine how and why germs got into the environment and spread to make people sick. An environmental assessment provides information that can stop ongoing outbreaks and prevent them in the future. But, health department investigators do not always conduct environmental assessments of outbreaks.