National Credential
Credential: Certified Foodborne Outbreak Investigator (CFOI)
Credentialing Agency: National Environmental Health Association (NEHA)

The National Environmental Health Association (NEHA), Certified Foodborne Outbreak Investigator (CFOI) credential is an intermediate-level certification for food professionals who assess foodborne illness risks. CFOIs utilize environmental health principles and food safety knowledge in collaboration with outbreak response partners. Professionals who pursue the CFOI include Environmental Health Specialists, Food Safety Specialists, Epidemiologists, Public Health Officers, Health Inspectors, and Quality Assurance Managers. CFOIs identify contributing factors and antecedents to foodborne illness, implement control measures to prevent the spread of foodborne illness and protect the public from foodborne illness. Candidates must take a written exam.

More information can be found on the certifying agency's website.

Renewal Period: 2 years

Certified Foodborne Outbreak Investigator (CFOI)

The following Army Occupations provide training and/or experience that contributes to attaining this credential:

Personnel Category Occupation Occupation Type Related As Promotion Points Skill Level Star Proponent Funded Gap Analysis
Enlisted 68S Preventive Medicine Specialist MOS other          
Warrant Officer 640A Food Safety Officer WOMOS other        
Warrant Officer 922A Food Service Technician WOMOS other        

Army Table Legend

Related As

The military occupations shown in this table are related to this credential in one of four ways: Most, Some, or Other.

Most: This credential is directly related to most of the major duties associated with the military occupation (at least 80%). Note that the credential may require additional education, training or experience before you are eligible for it.

Some: This credential is related to some tasks associated with the duties of the military occupation (related 80% to at least one or more critical tasks but less than 80% of all of the entire military occupation). Note that the credential may require additional education, training or experience before you are eligible for it.

Other: This credential is related to this military occupation, but is more advanced or specialized and therefore will likely require additional education, training, or experience.

Promotion Points Promotion Points icon

This credential has been approved for promotion points for this MOS towards promotion to Sergeant and Staff Sergeant. Clicking the Promotion Points icon will open a link to the promotion points fact sheet.

Skill Level Designation

Skill Level I: This skill level consists of all Soldiers in the ranks of Private (pay grade E-1) up to Specialist (pay grade E-4). Time in Service (TIS) is generally between initial entry and four Years of Service (YOS). This skill level is Entry-level positions requiring performance of tasks under direct supervision.

Institutional training:

  • Structured Self-Development (SSD) level I
  • Basic Leader Course (BLC)

Skill Level II: This skill level is obtained when promoted to Sergeant (paygrade E-5). TIS is generally between 4-8 YOS. Positions requiring performance of more difficult tasks under general supervision; and in some instances, involving supervision of Soldiers in SL1.

Institutional training:

  • Structured Self-Development (SSD) level II
  • Advance Leader Course (ALC)

Skill Level III: This skill level is obtained when promoted to Staff Sergeant (paygrade E-6). TIS is generally between 8-12 YOS. Positions requiring performance of still more difficult tasks and involving first line supervision of Soldiers in SL1 & SL2.

Institutional training:

  • Senior Leader Course (SLC)
  • Structured Self-Development (SSD) level III

Skill level IV: This skill level is obtained when promoted to the rank of Sergeant First Class (paygrade E-7). TIS is generally between 12-18 YOS. Positions requiring relatively detailed knowledge of all tasks specified for a given MOS, normally involving first-line supervision of Soldiers in SLs 1, 2, and 3, and involving managerial duties.

Institutional training:

  • Master Leader Course (MLC)
  • Structured Self-Development (SSD) level IV
  • Senior Enlisted Joint Professional Military Education (SEJPME) I Course

Skill level V: This skill level is obtained when promoted to the rank of Master Sergeant (paygrade E-8). TIS is generally between 18-22 YOS. Positions requiring direct and indirect leadership roles with expertise in company and battalion-level operations and competency across a given CMF, serving as members of a staff at every level in the Army, with a full understanding of the allocation of resources and their utilization in order to accomplish Army functions and missions.

Institutional training:

  • United States Army Sergeants Major Academy (USASMA)
  • Structured Self-Development (SSD) level V

Skill level VI: This skill level is obtained when promoted to the rank of Sergeants Major (paygrade E-9). TIS is generally between 22-30 YOS. Positions requiring organizational leadership roles with multi-dimensional expertise in units and teams on division, corps, and Army staffs, integrated with Joint, Interagency, Intergovernmental, and Multinational (JIIM) partners with a full understanding of the Force Generation process, operations at all echelons, and how the Army runs.

Star Credential Star icon

Star credentials are MOS enhancing, as designated by the Proponent. MOS enhancing credentials are directly related to an MOS or ASI, are taught either partially or completely as part of a Program of Instruction (POI), and improve the MOS technical proficiency.

Proponent Funded Funded icon

This icon indicates credentials which Soldiers may have funded through their MOS proponent. Some proponents offer credentialing opportunities in conjunction with military training and/or as part of MOS development beyond the training base.

Gap Analysis Has Analysis icon

A detailed analysis comparing the credential requirements to the military occupation has been completed. Click on the gap analysis icon to view the analysis page.

Certified Foodborne Outbreak Investigator (CFOI)

Eligibility Requirements ()

Note: This credential may have multiple options for becoming eligible. Listed below are the minimum requirements based on the minimum degree required. To view other options, see the Eligibility tab.

  • Credential Prerequisite
  • Experience: 7 years
  • Education: Associates
  • Training
  • Membership
  • Other
  • Fee

Exam Requirements ()

  • Written Exam
  • Oral Exam
  • Practical Exam
  • Performance Assessment

Renewal Period: 2 years

  • Continuing Education
  • Exam
  • Continuing Education OR Exam
  • Fee
  • Other

National Environmental Health Association (NEHA)
720 South Colorado Blvd.
Suite 1000-N
Denver, CO  80246-1925
Phone: (303) 756-9090
Fax: (303) 691-9490

Certified Foodborne Outbreak Investigator (CFOI)

Track 1:

  • Bachelor’s degree, or equivalent, with 30 semester hours (45 quarter hours) of science and a college-level math class; and
  • Two years of experience in environmental health, food safety, or a related field

Track 2:

  • Bachelor’s degree, or equivalent, with 5 years of experience; or
  • Associate’s degree with 15 semester hours of science (one course must be microbiology) and 7 years of experience in environmental health, food safety, or a related field

The Certified Foodborne Outbreak Investigator (CFOI) credential has the following other requirements:

  • Candidates and those who earn the CFOI are required to uphold and abide by the NEHA Code of Ethics.

Certified Foodborne Outbreak Investigator (CFOI)

  • Detecting Outbreaks (5.6%)
    • Collect Complaints (2.4%)
    • Review Complaint Log to Determine if there are Possible Associated Foodborne Illnesses (1.6%)
    • Link Complaint Information with Other Data Sources (1.6%)
  • Preparing for Investigation (13.6%)
    • Review Available Information (2.4%)
    • Determine Scope of Investigation (2.4%)
    • Inform Agency Administration (0.8%)
    • Assemble Outbreak Team (0.8%)
    • Convene Outbreak Team (0.8%)
    • Develop Response Plan (4.8%)
    • Gather Requisite Equipment (1.6%)
  • Contributing to Epidemiologic Investigation (7.2%)
    • Develop Questionnaires (2.4%)
    • Conduct Interviews (2.4%)
    • Search for Additional Cases (2.4%)
  • Performing Environmental Assessment (32%)
    • Review Facility Inspection and Complaint Reports (1.6%)
    • Meet with Person-In-Charge (1.6%)
    • Conduct Walk-Through (6.4%)
    • Interview Employees (3.2%)
    • Conduct Food Flow Analysis (7.2%)
    • Formulate Root-Cause Analysis (1.6%)
    • Document Evidence (3.2%)
    • Conduct Exit Interview (4%)
    • Implement Interventions (3.2%)
  • Collecting Samples (7.2%)
    • Determine Sampling Plan (1.6%)
    • Preparing to Sample (1.6%)
    • Collect Samples (2.4%)
    • Package and Transport Samples (1.6%)
  • Reviewing Investigation Findings (12.8%)
    • Compile and Share Findings with Partners (3.2%)
    • Evaluate Investigation Evidence (8%)
    • Develop Communication Plan (1.6%)
  • Conducting Product Tracing (4.8%)
    • Identify Necessity of Product Tracing (3.2%)
    • Conduct Product Tracing (1.6%)
  • Implementing Control Measures (13.6%)
    • Identify Control Measures (6.4%)
    • Implement Control Measures (4%)
    • Evaluate Control Measure Effectiveness (3.2%)
  • Concluding Actions (3.2%)
    • Create Final Reports (1.6%)
    • Conduct After-Action Report (1.6%)

There are a number of resources available to help you prepare for the Certified Foodborne Outbreak Investigator (CFOI) examination:

An additional resource is Safari Books Online, a searchable digital library that provides online access to thousands of books, training videos and conference sessions. See the Educational Resources page here on COOL to learn how to get free access.

Testing for this credential is handled by Pearson VUE. The test centers are located in the U.S. They also have some test centers on military bases.

To find out more, use the following links on the Pearson VUE website:

For more information on the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) testing process, visit the agency website.

Certified Foodborne Outbreak Investigator (CFOI)

Renewal Period: 2 years

The Certified Foodborne Outbreak Investigator (CFOI) credential has the following recertification information:

NEHA certifications are awarded for 2-year periods. To remain certified, certification holders must:
  • Earn and submit a minimum of 24 hours of continuing education every two years; and
  • Submit renewal fees for the CFOI credential every two years; and
  • Agree to continue to abide by and uphold the Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct Policy and the policies of the credential program.