Options for Controlling Norovirus from Farm-to-Fork in Ready-to-Eat-Food


Speaker:          CAPT Wendy Fanaselle, MS, RS, DAAS, Risk Assessment Project Manager, USPHS, CFSAN/FDA, MD


Norovirus (NoV) is now recognized as the leading cause of foodborne illness in the United States and is estimated to cause 23 million illnesses each year in the U.S.  Current estimates attribute at least 50% of all foodborne outbreaks of gastroenteritis in the U.S. to NoV.  Additionally, recent publications suggest that NoV may be an emerging foodborne pathogen.  Norovirus can be transmitted by air, oral-fecal, person-to-person, and can also be transmitted by consumption of contaminated RTE food and seafood.  However, most NoV foodborne outbreaks result from an infected food handler that is handling ready-to-eat foods, directly before consumption.  These issues, together with the ease in transmission from infected food workers to ready-to-eat foods, and the difficulty in controlling this virus through normal cleaning procedures increase the importance of achieving a better understanding of effective controls for preventing the transmission of NoV.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition,(CFSAN) initiated a risk profile assessment as an initial step in managing risks associated with potential NoV foodborne illness.  The risk profile summarizes the background information, the risks associated with transmission of the virus by food workers, and available risk management options in controlling NoV foodborne illness.