Using NEARS To Enhance Foodborne Illness Outbreak Response

Apr 19, 2017 | Amy Chang

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Environmental Assessment Reporting System (NEARS) is a surveillance system used to capture environmental assessment data from foodborne illness outbreak investigations. Local retail food regulatory programs that participate in NEARS can help prevent foodborne illness outbreaks associated with retail food facilities in their communities. The NEARS data can be used for the following:

  • Identify environmental causes of outbreaks in your jurisdiction.
  • Take follow-up action to reduce or prevent future foodborne illness outbreaks.
  • Evaluate your food safety program and make improvements based on established guidelines.
  • Develop or modify program policies or regulations.
  • Focus limited program resources on actions with the highest impact.

Click to view NEARS in action via a new article featured in the National Environmental Health Association’s (NEHA) Journal of Environmental Health, titled “Using the National Environmental Assessment Reporting System to Enhance Foodborne Illness Outbreak in New York City Restaurants.” Article authors include New York City Health Department staff who detail their use of NEARS to better collect data and identify the cause of outbreaks in their community.


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