Foodborne Illness: A Historical Perspective

This course explores the history of food production in human communities, foodborne illness, and the evolution of food safety standards and has been approved for 2.5 hours of Registered Environmental Health Specialist credit by the Ohio Department of Health.

Course Learning Objectives

By the end of this course, you should be able to: 

  • Describe the nature of foodborne illness, its precursors, and prevention. 
  • Describe history of food protection strategies, standards, and regulatory mechanisms. 
  • Describe the role of epidemiologic methods in controlling disease outbreaks.

Course Overview and Introduction

This brief PowerPoint provides a basic overview of the course structure and content

Course Materials

1. What physicians need to know about foodborne illness: Suspect, identify, treat, and report. (25:17 minutes)

This educational video from FDA intended for healthcare and public health professionals presents three cases that illustrate the potential severity of foodborne disease and explains a four-step process for managing patients that present with symptoms of the disease. The role of public health agencies is described.

2. Causes of food poisoning. Food safety.
The CDC estimates that each year 48 million people get sick from a foodborne illness, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die. This webpage provides a summary and links to pertinent information regarding food safety. 

Review the home page and each of the examples under “Some Common Foodborne Germs” and “illnesses are more likely to lead to hospitalization.” 

Review Website

3. A historical look at food safety. Brain food.  
This article from The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) offers a timeline of significant food safety events through the years.

Read Article

4. Perspectives in Foodborne Illness

This article (Keusch, 2013) provides a historical framework on food safety, and describes how the foodborne illness has affected humans throughout history, how technology has been harnessed to improve food production and the opportunities that lie ahead to reduce and prevent future disease incidence.

Read Article

5. Foodborne Illness: The History of an Invisible Enemy
This article (Bell, 2014) provides a historical framework on food safety, and describes how the safety of the food we eat has evolved over time.

Read Article

6. Check your Knowledge Quiz

This 10-item multiple choice quiz samples content from the assigned readings.  A passing score of 7/10 and completion of the brief three-item survey will generate a personalized confirmatory email from the Kent State University College of Public Health. Multiple quiz attempts are permitted.

Take Quiz