Root Cause Analysis: Forthcoming Guide Seeks to Improve Investigations

Thorough analysis of foodborne outbreaks and other incidents is fundamental to identifying preventive measures that can reduce contamination risks and human illnesses. However, root cause analysis remains an underutilized tool. Individual companies and food safety agencies vary widely in when and how they conduct root cause analysis, in part because they lack shared definitions and methods to help them guide such work.

A forthcoming publication developed by The Pew Charitable Trusts, an independent nonprofit organization, seeks to help fill that void by establishing an effective set of practices for conducting root cause analysis. In partnership with food safety agency officials, food companies and other experts, Pew is developing a guide that seeks to give regulators and companies the knowledge to perform root cause analysis and to ensure that each investigation’s lessons are shared with key stakeholders in ways that maximize the benefits for public health.

Pew’s food safety team would welcome input from NACCHO members on the draft guide as it is prepared for publication. If you would like to learn more and lend your expertise to this important effort, please contact Beth Riess at Pew: briess@pewtrusts.org. All comments will be due to Pew by April 15.

Read more about Pew’s work on root cause investigations.

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