Foodborne Illness Outbreak Investigation

Learning through application

The University of Delaware Food Science Program presents educational materials to teach the science of foodborne illness, prevention, and outbreak resolution. The materials were developed by UD food microbiologists with insight of an advisory board of secondary educators and support of a USDA award. The content is multifaceted with a presentation, case studies, video, and web-based activities.

The Power Point presentation, Introduction to Foodborne Illness and Surveillance for Foodborne Illness, features over 70 slides on basic food microbiology, disease surveillance and epidemiology. An audio file accompanies the presentation for more background information for the educator.

Case studies immerse students in the role of public health investigator in foodborne illness outbreak investigations. Case studies are based on actual outbreaks that occurred in the United States and which dramatically impacted scientific understanding and other societal issues of trade, economics, and regulations. Learning concepts of the case studies include the different etiologies of foodborne illness, experimental design, data collection and handling, epidemiology, food safety strategies, good agricultural practices, communication, societal impact and regulatory outcomes of foodborne illness outbreaks. Teacher and student versions are provided.

A video, Foodborne Illness Investigation – Behind the Scenes, presents principles of microbial biochemistry for laboratory detection and identification of foodborne pathogens. The 14-minute video features varied visual elements to illustrate laboratory techniques such as culturing, gene-based assays, and immunoassays with emphasis on the biochemical similarities and differences among foodborne viruses, bacteria, and protozoan parasites. [ Teacher Supplement to Video ]

Adrienne Shearer

Adrienne conducts laboratory research on detection, transmission, and resistance of foodborne pathogens. She also helps to develop and assess food safety educational materials.