Epidemiology of foodborne diseases: tools and applications.World Health Stat Q. 1997; 50(1-2):24-9.WH
Food safety is a complex matter that depends on a number of interrelated environmental, cultural, and socioeconomic factors. The purpose of epidemiology and surveillance is to define these factors, how they interact, and their relative importance in foodborne infections. The tools epidemiologists use to study foodborne disease include surveillance of specific infections in humans, monitoring of contamination with specific pathogens in foods and animals, intensive outbreak investigations, collecting reports of outbreaks at the regional or national level, and studies of sporadic infections. With sufficiently elaborate systems of surveillance and investigation, it is possible to provide quantitative risk data for foodborne diseases that will permit the wisest allocation of food safety resources.