The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has teamed up with the American Medical Association (AMA) to help educate physicians on foodborne illness. There are about 48 million foodborne illness cases each year in the U.S. These illnesses result in about 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths annually.

The joint venture includes two new videos that serve as tools for continuing medical education.

“Although physicians are generally familiar with the illnesses caused by food contaminants, FDA and AMA feel that the globalization of the food supply and the continuing evolution of foodborne pathogens warrant updated medical education and patient counseling on foodborne illness. These changes create a need for physicians to guide patients in protecting themselves from foodborne illness, especially those who are among the most vulnerable to serious consequences and who are most likely to be in a physician’s care: the very young whose immune systems are not yet fully developed; individuals whose immune systems are weakened by pregnancy, age, chronic conditions like diabetes, cancer and HIV/AIDS; and persons with organ transplants taking immuno-suppressive medications.”

VIDEO: What Physicians Need to Know About Foodborne Illness: Suspect, Identify, Treat, and Report


Physicians and other healthcare professionals face a host of new challenges in responding to foodborne illness. Moreover, many individuals who are likely to be seeing physicians regularly are especially vulnerable to foodborne disease: very young children, pregnant women, the elderly, and individuals whose immune systems are weakened by chronic conditions like diabetes, cancer and HIV/AIDS, or by immunosuppressive drugs for persons with organ transplants.

This video uses three actual cases to illustrate the potential severity of foodborne disease and explains a four-step process for dealing with symptoms that may indicate foodborne illness: Suspect, Identify, Treat, and Report.

VIDEO: Preventing Foodborne Illness: Talking to Patients About Food Safety

This short video illustrates the essential steps people should take when shopping for, storing, preparing, and serving food. It will help healthcare professionals counsel patients, especially vulnerable patients, on avoiding foodborne illness and is suitable to be shown directly to patients.

For more details about companion materials and AMA continuing education credits for physicians, visit