Update of the technical specifications for harmonised reporting of food-borne outbreaks through the European Union reporting system in accordance with Directive 2003/99/EC


European Food Safety Authority
EFSA Journal
EFSA Journal 2014;12(3):3598 [25 pp.].

EFSA wishes to thank the members of the EFSA Scientific Network for Zoonoses Monitoring Data for endorsement of this report. Members of the Working Group on the Revision of reporting specifications for food-borne outbreaks in the EU: Bob Adak, John Cowden, Gilles Delmas, Katelijne Dierick, Celine Gossner, Darina O’Flanagan, Lone Jannok Porsbo and Dirk Werber, are also gratefully acknowledged for the preparatory work on this scientific output and EFSA staff: Pia Mäkelä, Valentina Rizzi and Roisin Rooney for the support provided to this scientific output.

Scientific Report of EFSA
On request from
Question Number
25 February 2014
Published in the EFSA Journal
17 March 2014
European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Parma, Italy

In the analyses of the reported data on food-borne outbreaks at the European Union level it is important to address the relevance of different food categories as outbreak vehicles and the causative agents most frequently associated with these food vehicles. This report includes an update of the technical specifications for harmonised reporting of food-borne outbreaks to the European Union, to allow for the better achievement of their objectives. Member States shall report all food-borne outbreaks which meet the definition in the Directive 2003/99/EC. A distinction has been made between food-borne outbreaks supported by ‘weak’ evidence and those supported by ‘strong’ evidence, based on the strength of evidence implicating a particular food vehicle. The same dataset is used for both weak- and strong-evidence outbreaks. This includes the number of outbreaks per causative agent, and the number of human cases, hospitalisations, and deaths. In addition, other information can be reported by Member States, including the nature of the evidence supporting the suspicion of implicated food vehicles and data on the causative agents, food vehicles, and the factors in food preparation and handling that contributed to the food-borne outbreaks.

food-borne outbreak, reporting system, causative agent, food vehicle, strength of evidence
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