Environmental Assessments and Training
Foodborne illness is a significant problem in the United States, and environmental assessments are an important part of addressing it. Environmental assessments help identify the underlying environmental causes of foodborne illness outbreaks. These assessments find out how and why germs get into the environment and spread. Findings from environmental assessments can be used to recommend steps to stop outbreaks and prevent future ones.
Certified Foodborne Outbreak Investigator (CFOI) Credential
NEHA released the Certified Foodborne Outbreak Investigator (CFOI) credential with the assistance of Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) in October 2017. A Certified Foodborne Outbreak Investigator utilizes the environmental health principles and food safety knowledge in collaboration with outbreak response partners to assess foodborne illness risks, perform environmental assessments, identify contributing factors and antecedents, and implement control measures to prevent the spread of foodborne illness and protect the public.
The credential exam will cover the following areas:
- Detecting Outbreaks
- Preparing for Investigation
- Contributing to Epidemiologic Investigation
- Performing Environmental Assessment
- Collecting Samples
- Reviewing Investigation Findings
- Conducting Product Tracing
- Implementing Control Measures
- Concluding Actions
Foodborne Illness Outbreak Environmental Assessment (FBEA) Certificate Training
The FBEA certificate training is designed for environmental health specialists who want to take the most in-depth training available on environmental assessments. A working understanding of foodborne outbreak investigations and basic experience with routine inspections is recommended. This comprehensive self-paced training covers 13 environmental assessment topics and incorporates a variety of existing trainings from mixed modalities into the curriculum. Learning is assessed with individual module quizzes, with a required passing score of 80% or better. Upon completion of the training, users are presented with 13 NEHA continuing education credits.
NEHA worked with the Colorado Integrated Food Safety Center of Excellence, the Rocky Mountain Public Health Training Center, the National Network of Public Health Institutes, and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention to develop this comprehensive online certificate training.
NEARS Promotional Toolkit
The National Environmental Assessment Reporting System (NEARS) Promotional Toolkit contains official information, tools, fact sheets, handouts, and other materials that have been carefully selected to assist current and interested NEARS participants in promoting NEARS to other local, state, tribal, and territorial food safety programs. The contents can be used to educate prospective NEARS participants and decision-makers about the program and its benefits.
Additional NEARS information and resources can be found on CDC’s NEARS webpage at https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/ehs/nears/index.htm
Access the Online Training Portal
Access over 75 environmental assessment trainings, resources and tools. The portal is a curated hub of resources surrounding environmental assessments. The information is browsable by topic area, hosting body, or modality and includes information on length, prerequisites, associated costs, and URL for the training.
Environmental Assessment Resources...Which Ones are Right for Me?
With so many great resources to choose from, how do you know what's best for what you're looking for? NEHA, CDC’s Environmental Health Services Branch, the National Network of Public Health Institutes (NNPHI), the Colorado Integrated Food Safety Center of Excellence (COE), and the Rocky Mountain Public Health Training Center, have developed a variety of user-friendly and useful environmental assessment (EA) tools, trainings and resources for regulatory food safety programs.
Start HERE by viewing this great two-page flier which explains each of the tools, and provides guidance on when to use the tools and who the target audience is for each.
Looking for additional resources on environmental assessments?
- Environmental Assessment Training Series (EATS) - Practice skills in an interactive virtual environment and learn to conduct environmental assessments as part of foodborne illness outbreak investigations with CDC’s fun, FREE online training. Continuing education units (CEUs) are available.
- Equipping Environmental Health Workers With Environmental Assessment Tools - Journal of Environmental Health column