Norovirus, often referred to as the “stomach flu,” is a virus that causes gastrointestinal illness, with symptoms of diarrhea and vomiting. It is the leading cause of foodborne illness in the United States. It spreads easily through the fecal-oral route. Hepatitis A is also a virus that causes gastrointestinal illness, as well as other symptoms such as jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes). Both viruses may be transmitted through food. A more in-depth summary of these viruses is available on our food virology page. Please refer to the following resources for additional information on food borne viral pathogens.
The CDC provides comprehensive, up to date information for both norovirus and hepatitis A. The CDC’s norovirus page contains general facts about the virus, guidelines for prevention, information on outbreaks, and pages for key audiences such as food handlers, health care providers, and public health professionals. They also include links to additional resources, including factsheets; norovirus surveillance (http://www.cdc.gov/features/dsNorovirus/) information; and other multimedia such as podcasts. Professionals may also wish to review the 2011 Guideline for the Prevention and Control of Norovirus Gastroenteritis Outbreaks in Healthcare Settings and the Updated Norovirus Outbreak Management and Disease Prevention Guidelines.
In June 2014, CDC released a new VitalSigns report dedicated to norovirus, which includes factsheets and infographics summarizing key norovirus related information based on the most recent research. Check out the NoroCORE blog for a breakdown of this new information.
“The Vessel Sanitation Program (VSP) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) assists the cruise ship industry to prevent and control the introduction, transmission, and spread of gastrointestinal (GI) illnesses on cruise ships.”
Going on a cruise? Might want to check out the VSP website. The Vessel Sanitation Program (VSP) is also a part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It operates under the authority of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. Section 264 Quarantine and Inspection Regulations to Control Communicable Diseases). This is the organization that monitors gastrointestinal illness aboard cruise ships, among its other tasks. The VSP provides information for travelers, outbreak updates, and additional industry specific information.
“The U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) publishes the Food Code, a model that assists food control jurisdictions at all levels of government by providing them with a scientifically sound technical and legal basis for regulating the retail and food service segment of the industry (restaurants and grocery stores and institutions such as nursing homes).”
New editions of the FDA Food Code are released every four years, with the most recent edition released in 2013. The guide is intended for all levels of government regulators to use as a model for developing and updating food safety rules to reflect emerging information and maintain consistency with national food regulatory policies.
“Center for Produce Safety (CPS) is focused exclusively on providing the produce industry and government with open access to the actionable information needed to continually enhance the safety of produce.”
The CPS is a collaborative partnership that focuses on the enhancement of fresh produce safety. CPS combines input from industry, government, and academia to identify produce safety research needs, conduct research to meet those needs, and to implement solutions to the problems facing the safety of the fresh produce food supply.
“Providing fundamental, science-based, on-farm food safety knowledge to fresh fruit and vegetable farmers, packers, regulatory personnel and others interested in the safety of fresh produce.”
The Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) is a collaborative group that is working to establish a unified set of GAP (Good Agricultural Practices) training materials/curricula for U.S. farmers, and to help implement food safety practices on farms and in packinghouses.
“The Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference (ISSC) was formed in 1982 to foster and promote shellfish sanitation through the cooperation of state and federal control agencies, the shellfish industry, and the academic community.”
The ISSC is a cooperative effort of members of the shellfish industry, dedicated to ensuring the safety of shellfish products in the U.S. and to promoting cooperation and trust among shellfish control agencies, the shellfish industry, and consumers of shellfish. The ISSC adopts uniform procedures, helps provide and distribute current sanitation guidelines to members of the industry, provides a forum to resolve issues within the industry, and keeps the industry informed of recent developments in shellfish sanitation and related issues.
“The N.C. Fresh Produce Safety Task Force minimizes food safety risks and enhances the economic competitiveness of North Carolina’s fresh produce industry.”
The N.C. Fresh Produce Safety Task Force minimizes food safety risks and enhances the economic competitiveness of North Carolina’s fresh produce industry with support from the research, teaching and outreach programs of N.C. State University, N.C. A&T State University, N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, N.C. Farm Bureau and industry groups.
“The Task Force is a multi-agency, multi-stakeholder partnership designed to improve the protection of the food supply in North Carolina.”
The NC Food Safety and Defense Task Force is a governor’s appointed partnership whose responsibilities relate to the safety of the food supply system in NC, including assessment of the vulnerability of the food system to external threats, improvement of the security of the food system, related response planning, and the implementation of training for stakeholders in NC’s food supply system. This includes the recommendation of appropriate legislation, budget, staffing, and resource changes to meet these food safety goals. It is also the “parent” task force for the Fresh Produce Safety Task Force.