Global Foodborne Infections Network (GFN)

Joint Epidemiology and Laboratory Modules

These modules bring together senior microbiologists and epidemiologists, raising awareness that the control of foodborne pathogens and disease requires a multi-disciplinary and multisectoral approach.

  • Integrated surveillance
    The module on integrated surveillance addresses the importance of integrating food safety efforts from all major stakeholders in food safety from farm to consumption. Since there are numerous possible routes for transmission of contamination throughout production, isolated actions (e.g. decontamination of animal feed) will in most cases not ensure lasting consumer protection. In order to effectively manage the problem of foodborne disease, measures should be considered at all levels of production. This requires a coordinated surveillance and response effort from all major stakeholders in food safety.
  • Country plans of action
    Senior microbiologists and epidemiologists work in collaboration to develop and present country plans of action, which focus on developing integrated national surveillance systems for foodborne and other enteric infections.
  • Advocacy and communication
    The advocacy and communication module offers participants instruction on the importance of advocacy and how to be an effective advocate. Advocacy and communication are key tools in public health for ensuring surveillance activities are transformed into public health action. These valuable skills are also essential for informing policy- and decision-makers, working for social change, transforming public perceptions, as well as mobilizing human and financial resources. This module focuses on how to improve support for foodborne disease surveillance and food safety initiatives.
  • Information sharing and early warning networks
    This module introduces participants to global networks relevant to zoonoses and food safety. Networks, such as the International Food Safety Authorities Network (INFOSAN), and Global Early Warning Systems (GLEWS), are presented. INFOSAN disseminates important global food safety information and works towards improving national and international collaboration. GLEWS focuses on improving the early warning and response capacity to animal disease threats, including zoonoses, through sharing of information, epidemiological analysis and contributing to joint field missions. A global network, GLEWS is a joint system supported by FAO, OIE, and WHO. Additional regional networks are also introduced.