Pathogens and Contaminants

Researcher with mold

Microbial and non-microbial contaminants such as pathogenic bacteria, viruses, and chemical or physical substances that contaminate food or food animals during production, processing and preparation.


Research Publications from Peer-Reviewed Journals

USDA. ARS. Food Safety Research Information Office.

An automated feed of the latest food safety research publications released from peer-reviewed journals. Some publications may be ahead of print. Citations and abstracts are available to all users while full-text availability depends on institutional access levels.

Food Contaminants & Adulteration

DHHS. Food and Drug Administration.

Describes the FDA's authority to oversee food contaminants and adulteration and provides regulatory reports for chemical contaminants, filth, and metals.

Food Safety: Foodborne Illness and Selected Recalls of FDA-Regulated Foods (PDF | 374 KB)

Congressional Research Service.

A report (2009) describes several systems to monitor foodborne diseases, presents data on more serious recalls of FDA-regulated foods, and describes three foodborne outbreaks: Salmonella in peanut products, melamine in pet foods and dairy products, and E. coli in spinach.

Pathogen Annotated Tracking Resource Network (PATRN)

DHHS. Food and Drug Administration.

An integrated database of expert-curated published historical data on over 44,000 isolates of foodborne pathogens; their associated metadata and results from multiple types of experiments, and data from outbreak and surveillance investigation activities. A ‘private’ workspace is also provided for user-driven data analyses and for sharing of data among network partners. Read the full-text paper for more technical information.

Outbreak Alert! Database

Center for Science in the Public Interest.

The Outbreak Alert! is a searchable database that includes only outbreaks where both the food and pathogen have been identified. It currently has information on 5,000 outbreaks that occurred between 1990 to 2007.

Foodborne Illness & Disease Fact Sheets

USDA. Food Safety and Inspection Service.

General information about foodborne illnesses and disease fact sheets. Spanish version is available.

PubMed Journal Citations on Foodborne Pathogens

DHHS. NIH. National Library of Medicine.

Searchable database for journal citations available to persons interested in information on food-related pathogens.

Foodborne Illness Outbreak Database

The Marler Clark Network.

This database provides summaries of significant food and water related outbreaks occurring since 1993 caused by E. coli, Salmonella, Hepatitis A, Campylobacter and other pathogens.

Risk Assessments

USDA. Food Safety and Inspection Service.

Reports the quantitative or qualitative value of risks associated with different foodborne illnesses such as avian influenza, bovine spongiform encephalopathy, egg and poultry products.

FPAdvisor (Food Pathogen Advisor), A Food Borne Disease Database

Michigan Department of Agriculture.

Database providing an instructional aid to food regulatory personnel seeking a better understanding of the range of food borne illnesses.

Risk Profiles of Food Pathogens

New Zealand Food Safety Authority.

Microbiological risk profiles of food pathogens prepared to provide contextual and background information so that risk managers can make decisions and, if necessary, take further action.

FDA's Total Diet Study: Monitoring U.S. Food Supply Safety

DHHS. FDA. Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.

Summarizes studies conducted to monitor levels of chemical contaminants in foods and the average consumption of food containing chemical contaminants by the general population. Includes information on the history and results of the total diet study, the total diet study today and future research implications.

Common Foodborne Pathogens

Iowa State University Extension.

Information regarding common foodborne pathogens including causes, symptoms, and prevention measures.

Division of Foodborne, Bacterial and Mycotic Diseases Index

DHHS. CDC. Division of Foodborne, Baterial and Mycotic Diseases.

Agency that conducts surveillance, epidemic investigations, epidemiological and laboratory research, training, and public education programs to develop, evaluate, and promote prevention and control strategies for infectious bacterial and mycotic diseases.