What's New

New Coordinator of the Graduate Certificate in Food Safety

In October, the COE leadership approved the Department of Public Health’s request to fund a Graduate Assistantship (GA) to serve as the Coordinator of the Graduate Certificate in Food Safety. Ms. Cari Jennings, a second-year MPH student concentrating in Health Policy and Management, was appointed to the GA position in November and has hit the ground running! Cari’s primary responsibilities include:

  • Assisting with the development and implementation of Food Safety internships
  • Supporting certificate-associated course migration to an on-line format
  • Recruiting and marketing for the certificate
  • Tracking student coursework and achievements
  • Assisting with SORRT (Student Outbreak Rapid Response Training, PUBH 541)

Cari brings not only her passion for and commitment to public health, she also brings her experience, having completed the SORRT course in Spring 2016. Dr. Paul Erwin, Cari’s immediate supervisor, commented, “Cari’s involvement will have a significant impact on how we offer, track, and manage the Graduate Certificate in Food Safety, and I’m certain will have a very positive return on investment!”

Epi Web Course and Team Training Series

CAFSP, in conjunction with the Integrated Food Safety Centers of Excellence, is in the process of developing a web-based course series for epidemiological investigation teams. The goal for this series of online courses and downloadable team activities will be to train public health professionals and other involved personnel to rapidly identify, investigate and implement control measures for a foodborne disease outbreak to reduce the incidence of foodborne illness. Ideally, the courses and team activities will be completed by all outbreak team members over the span of six months to a year to build team capacity. The series will be comprised of seven courses and four team activities. The activities will be downloadable and will take an hour to hour-and-a-half to complete; these activities could be completed as a part of a monthly team meeting.


Course 1: Foodborne Outbreak Investigation and Response Team Roles and Responsibilities: Part A is complete and currently on-line. This course will provide an overview of the integrated food safety system and how local, state, and national agencies fit into this system.


Course 2: Foodborne Outbreak Investigation and Response Team Roles and Responsibilities: Part B is in the final development stage and should be on-line in August 2015. This course will identify surveillance systems relevant for foodborne outbreak response for the discipline areas of environmental health, epidemiology, and laboratories.


Upcoming Courses and Activities will include the following.


Activity 1. After members of an investigation team complete the first two courses, they can participate, as a team, in a downloadable activity to highlight key lessons of Courses 1 and 2 related to how they function as a team related to surveillance protocols. This activity will help them to do a gap analysis for the particular needs of their team and develop action items with timelines for meeting those needs.


Course 3:Initial Foodborne Illness Investigation. This course will provide an overview of information sources, their analysis, and interpretation as part of a foodborne illness investigation.


Activity 2. This downloadable team activity will cover key topic areas from Course 3, including information assessment, investigation tools, and communication and control measures.


Course 4: Environmental Health Investigation. This course will describe the differences between environmental health assessments, HACCP plan reviews, facility plan reviews, and routine inspections.


Course 5: Epidemiologic Investigations. This course will provide cover key parameters of an epidemiologic investigation.


Course 6: Laboratory Investigations. This course provides information on how likely causative agents are determined during a laboratory investigation.


Activity 3. This downloadable team activity will cover key topic areas from Courses 4-6 that will help the team to integrate their roles and responsibilities during environmental health investigations, epidemiological investigations, and laboratory investigations


Course 7: Concluding the Investigation and Final Course Activity. This course will identify when to conclude a foodborne outbreak investigation, the necessary elements of an After-Action-Report, and the process for continuous improvement.


Activity 4: Capstone Activity. This downloadable team activity will be a culmination of information from all seven courses that will help the team to identify specific areas for improvement.


Archived content

Food Safety Exercise held at University of Tennessee


On December 16th the Tennessee Food Safety Task Force and the Tennessee Integrated Food Safety Center of Excellence held a cross-disciplinary tabletop exercise focused on the regulatory traceback investigation that occurs when standard product testing identifies excessive levels of a contaminant in an imported food product. The real-life, plausible food safety event was attended by 40 participants including Federal and State Agency personnel from Tennessee, North Carolina, and Georgia, as well as representatives from a number of multi-state food manufacturers and retailers and other food safety partners.


This tabletop exercise provided participants with an overview of actions taken at various levels when a food-related incident occurs and focused on the roles of key personnel in responding to an unintentional contamination event to protect consumers. Participants worked through three discussion-based modules focused on:


  • Identification of the violative product;
  • Supply chain and traceback investigation procedures; and
  • The ensuing traceforward investigation and recall.


Participants assessed their agencies’ existing plans, policies and procedures with regard to each of the phases of the investigation and the facilitators’ questions generated detailed discussion about how participants would realistically apply such plans in the event of an incident.
The exercise also provided participants an opportunity to explore important topics such as the need for chain of custody and analytical training, interagency collaboration, jurisdictional issues, and risk communication. Dr. John Dunn, Director of the Food Safety Center of Excellence, said,
“Our state Task Force and COE partners are leaders in food safety. Partnership and collaboration between industry and governmental agencies was highlighted to better understand supply chain and traceback investigation when a contaminant is identified in food.”


Main Activity Areas


CAPT Rendi Murphree & Dr.Faith Critizer

Facilitators included CAPT Rendi Murphree, US Public Health Service CDC Career Epidemiology Field Officer with the Tennessee Department of Health, and Dr. Sharon Thompson, Director of the University of Tennessee Center for Agriculture and Food Security and Preparedness. The planning Committee was chaired by Dr. Faith Critzer of the University of Tennessee Food Science & Technology Department.


The exercise is one of a set developed by the Institute of Food Technologists on behalf of the Food and Drug Administration CFSAN Food Defense Oversight Team and produced in cooperation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For more information on the Food Related Emergency Exercise Bundle (FREE-B), please visit: http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodDefense/ToolsEducationalMaterials/ucm295902.htm or contact the Tennessee Integrated Food Safety Center of Excellence ( http://foodsafety.utk.edu/ )or the Tennessee Food Safety Task Force (www.foodsafetytaskforce.org/).

CAPT Rendi Murphree & Dr.Faith Critizer





State Officials

State Officials


Industry Partners

Industry Partners

Federal Partners

Federal Partners



CDC’s CoE Updates page:http://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/centers/updates/index.html