DoD Food Analysis and Diagnostic

 DoD FADL Foodborne Illness Investigation

Last Updated: March 24, 2021
Skip Navigation LinksAPHC Home / Topics / Laboratory Sciences & Toxicology / DoD Food Analysis and Diagnostic / DoD FADL Foodborne Illness Investigation

Foodborne illness is any illnessExternal Link resulting from the spoilage of contaminated foodExternal Link, pathogenicExternal Link bacteriaExternal Link, toxins, virusesExternal Link, prions or parasites. Foodborne illness is a serious public health concern for military, family members, civilians, and contractors.  Furthermore, foodborne illnesses increase Disease –Non Battle Injuries (DNBI) thus, reducing U.S. Forces readiness.

Military Public Health assets will assist in the foodborne illness investigation and collection of the suspected samples. Preventive Medicine (PM) personnel will conduct a foodborne illness investigation and Veterinary Food Inspectors (VFIs) will collect suspected foodborne illness samples.  Upon notification of a possible foodborne illness, follow the instructions below:

  1. Contact FADL personnel telephonically at 210-295-4708/4210/4783 (DSN 421).  If unavailable, please email USARMY JB San Antonio MEDCOM PH-C Mailbox PHCC FADL FOOD Protection (usarmy.jbsa.medcom-ph-c.mbx.phcc-fadl-food-protection@mail.mil).  Provide as much information as possible for the following questions:
    1. Food attack rates for each food eaten or suspect meal(s)
      1. Total number of people who consumed the suspect meal(s) or food.
      2. Number of people who consumed the suspect meal(s) or food and became ill
      3. Number of people who consumed the suspect meal(s) or food and did not become ill
      4. Consider foods eaten 72 hours prior to symptoms
    2. Predominate symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, chills, headache, and dizziness
    3. Incubation period: time from ingestion to appearance of symptoms
    4. Duration of symptoms
    5. Physician's diagnosis and any medical treatment given
    6. Laboratory results on cultures of clinical specimens, stool and/or vomitus
    7. Reports of any mishandling of the suspected food
  2. Aseptically store suspected samples (bulk foods, food in open containers) in separate sterile containers in refrigeration until shipment. Store frozen samples frozen and refrigerated samples refrigerated.  Store a minimum of 100 grams of each sample or entire specimen if less than 100 grams. 
  3. Complete and submit DA Forms 4137, Evidence/Property Custody Document DA Form 4137External Link (CAC required) and DA Form 7539, Request for Veterinary Laboratory Testing and Food Sample Record DA Form 7539External Link (CAC required).  Ensure Block 6 for DA Form 7539 states suspected foodborne illness. Include customer complaint history in block 12 of the DA Form 7539.
  4. For additional laboratory submission guidance please review TG 361, DoD FADL Submission Guide. (Update coming soon)