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Law Project

One of CIFOR's key objectives is to examine the legal authority needed to conduct ongoing foodborne disease surveillance and to respond to foodborne disease outbreaks and the capacity to implement those legal authorities effectively.

CIFOR has tools available to help public health agencies and jurisdictions to improve their legal preparedness to conduct surveillance for foodborne diseases and respond to outbreaks. These documents provide guidance for outbreaks both within agencies' jurisdictions and across multiple states and other jurisdictional boundaries. Each of the three documents is designed to address a discrete but related research need and audience.

Analysis of State Legal Authorities: This document describes and analyzes the types of state legal authorities currently available to conduct foodborne disease surveillance and outbreak response activities. It demonstrates the "patchwork" of state laws across an array of topic areas--public health, communicable disease, food safety, food regulation, agriculture, environment, and general government authority--on which public health professionals and their legal counsel must rely to conduct foodborne disease outbreak surveillance and response activities. The Analysis of State Legal Authorities is the foundation for the next two documents.

Practitioners' Handbook on Legal Authorities: This handbook is a practical guide for public health professionals with roles in foodborne disease surveillance and outbreak response. It presents information and resources for practitioners charged with implementing their jurisdictions' legal authorities related to foodborne disease events. The handbook is a primer on the array of statutes and regulations that may be used to undertake foodborne disease surveillance and other outbreak response activities. It provides practitioners with checklists and tools to help them identify relevant agency actors and laws within their jurisdictions.

Menu of Legal Options: This menu of legal options can be considered by state public health officials and policy makers when reviewing their jurisdiction's legal authorities to conduct foodborne disease surveillance and outbreak response actions. It includes legal provisions relevant to effective performance of each of the principal functions of foodborne disease surveillance and outbreak response: outbreak detection, outbreak investigation, outbreak control, and outbreak documentation. The menu is intended to be a resource for states to use in filling gaps and in clarifying or enhancing their legal authorities.

The target audiences for these documents include state and local public health officials who direct foodborne disease surveillance and implement foodborne disease investigations and outbreak response, state and local policy makers who shape and adopt pertinent laws, and legal counsel to those officials.

For more information about the CIFOR law project, please contact Dhara Patel at CSTE at (770) 458-3811 or