Certified Foodborne Outbreak Investigator (CFOI) Credential

Who Should Apply?

A woman with a laptop checking plants in a field with text overlay Certified Foodborne Outbreak Investigator (CFOI) credential

Are you interested in utilizing environmental health principles and food safety knowledge in collaboration with outbreak response partners to assess foodborne illness risks? If yes, this is the credential for you. The CFOI will prepare you to also perform environmental assessments, identify contributing factors and antecedents, and implement control measures to prevent the spread of foodborne illness and protect the public. Potential job opportunities after obtaining the credential include: Environmental Health Specialist, Food Safety Specialist, Epidemiologist, Public Health Officer, Health Inspector, and Quality Assurance Manager. These are just a few of the professions that this credential will open doors to.


Eligibility Requirements

  • Degree Track
    • 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 
    • “In-Training” Status: If you are applying under the degree track, but do not yet have the required work experience, you may apply for an “In-Training” Status registration. You will have three (3) years to acquire the necessary experience to transfer your registration to full-credential status. If you do not acquire the necessary experience in three years, your “In-Training” status will expire. In order to obtain the credential, you will need to once again apply and be found eligible to take the exam. 
  • Experience Track
    • 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


Member: US $260

Non-member: US $405



This information is a brief overview of the eligibility requirements. For complete details, please see the Candidate Information Brochure (PDF). 

A Professional Credential From NEHA

Since 1937 NEHA has been leading the way for practitioners to achieve a set of defined competencies, evidenced through testing and maintained through continuing education. These benchmarks of excellence have become the gold standard in recognizing those who are uniquely equipped to handle the wide breadth of environmental health issues. NEHA’s long-standing history in credentialing means that our standards are high and that individuals with a NEHA credential have mastered a body of knowledge and acquired practical experience to perform relevant work responsibilities.

As an impartial, third-party endorsement of an individual’s professional knowledge and experience, a credential stands in support of a candidate’s resume and professional references. It serves as verification that a professional has achieved a baseline level of competency in his or her subject matter.

EH Topics: 

  • "The certification shows an interest in conducting foodborne outbreak investigations and the knowledge to appropriately implement interventions while determining the source of an outbreak."
    - Marijke, Epidemiologist in Minnesota
  • "Having the CFOI credential will demonstrate the individual’s knowledge and competency, and enhance their credibility as a “player” in investigating an outbreak."
    - Cindy, CP-FS Credential Holder and President of Eastern Food Safety
  • "The education, skills, and knowledge that accumulates with each foodborne outbreak experience is now in the form of the CFOI credential. Also, as a manager conducting new employee interviews, this credential would indicate to me that the interviewee has knowledge and skills that takes time and money to provide."
    - Michele, Supervising Environmental Health Specialist in California
  • "The CFOI credential will be a "feather in the cap" for anyone who prides themselves as an outbreak investigator."
    - Michele, Supervising Environmental Health Specialist in California