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Investigating and reporting of foodborne outbreaks became mandatory with Directive 2003/99/EC. In 2006 and 2007 the Community reporting system for foodborne outbreaks was further developed in an interdisciplinary approach, which is described in this paper. This involved experts on investigating and reporting foodborne outbreaks as well as experts on communicable diseases in addition to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) Task Force for Zoonoses Data Collection, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) Advisory Forum and representatives of ECDC, the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and the European Commission. European Union Member States participated in a survey regarding their national reporting systems and the needs for information on foodborne outbreaks at the Community level. The acceptability, the functionality and the data quality of the current reporting system were evaluated. The results were used to propose new variables on which data should be reported. Pick-lists were developed to facilitate reporting and better integration of the Community system with Member States' reporting systems. The new system is expected to yield better quality data on foodborne outbreaks relevant for risk assessment and risk management while reducing the work load for Member States.


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