Certified Foodborne Outbreak Investigator (CFOI) Credential News Release

NEHA News Release


Release Date: 
October 20, 2017

DENVER – The National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) is proud to announce the Certified Foodborne Outbreak Investigator (CFOI) credential. A CFOI credential holder utilizes 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.

NEHA, through a task order with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and with the assistance of Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) from around the country, began last year to develop a job task analysis, a defensible assessment, and a credential for foodborne outbreaks .  The credentialing process will give highly trained and motivated food safety professionals an opportunity to demonstrate their proficiency in the area of conducting environmental assessments for foodborne illness outbreaks.

The need for an adequately trained public health workforce has been deemed critical by the National Academies of Science. The nation’s environmental health workforce faces critical challenges in meeting the environmental health service delivery needs of its communities. A report from the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) indicates that 80% of the nation’s environmental health workforce has no formal education in public health or environmental health. This is a major concern for public health in the United States since many of the current and emerging health threats confronting the American public are from diseases of environmental origin. NEHA’s sole mission has been to determine the educational and training needs of environmental health professionals and to then design and deliver programs to meet those needs. A certification of proficiency, as evidenced by the CFOI credential, is the only way to ensure and quantify the individual practitioner’s competence in a predefined group of skill sets.

The CFOI credential exam consists of 140 questions covering nine main content areas below.

  1. Performing Environmental Assessment 
  2. Implementing Control Measures
  3. Preparing for Investigation 
  4. Reviewing Investigation Findings
  5. Contributing to Epidemiologic Investigations 
  6. Collecting Samples 
  7. Detecting Outbreaks 
  8. Conducting Product Tracing 
  9. Concluding Actions 

More information on the eligibility requirements, application fees, and recommended study references for the CFOI credential  may be found here.


About the National Environmental Health Association

The National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) is professional society with more than 5,000 members in the public and private sectors as well as in universities and uniformed services. NEHA's mission, "To advance the environmental health professional for the purpose of providing a healthful environment for all" is fulfilled in the products and services offered by NEHA to advance the environmental health professional through credentialing, training, education, networking, professional development, and policy involvement opportunities. Learn more about NEHA at www.neha.org.