The Connecticut Department of Public Health (CT DPH) Food Protection Program (FPP) seeks to improve its capacity and capability to conduct food safety activities that will reduce the risk of foodborne disease. Data is the foundation of public health planning and essential for developing foodborne disease prevention strategies. The Connecticut Department of Public health proposes to improve its food safety data system by developing two new modules for Maven, a case management system that was first licensed for CT DPH in 2008 to replace existing standalone desktop databases used for reportable diseases. Currently there are five Maven applications for CT DPH programs that are operational, so there is a well-defined approach to designing, building, and migrating new systems that will result in a product that functions as intended. Both systems will replace outdated desktop databases in the FPP with limited functioning. One will be dedicated to food establishment inspection report form data generated by the 300 local food inspectors at the 75 local health departments in Connecticut. Data from this system will be used to identify risk factor violations observed during routine inspections, develop compliance strategies, determine training needs for inspectors, and assist in program planning. The second system will be used for tracking and monitoring of single complaints of foodborne illness. This is necessary for enhancing Connecticut's foodborne disease surveillance capabilities as most people with foodborne disease do not seek medical care that can result in a positive laboratory test that will identify the organism that caused their illness. This new system will replace an older system that is no longer functional and will allow us to monitor illness reports from a statewide perspective that will lead to a better understanding of the true burden of foodborne illness and most important, improve our ability to identify outbreaks more rapidly. The third component of the proposal will provide an interface for user friendly access to the data by local health departments and CT DPH. This would allow for data to be shared, monitored, and evaluated by both parties and will be used for improving the capability of food safety programs at the state and local level. Future plans would include public access as allowed by law.
Relevance This funding will allow the Connecticut Department of Public Health Food Protection Program to collect food establishment inspection and foodborne illness complaint data in a manner that can be used to enhance its capacity and capability to develop and carryout program activities consistent with its mission to reduce the risk of foodborne disease. This is consistent with activities and guidance promoted by the Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.