The free movement of people and foodstuffs between countries are effective ways of distributing disease internationally. There is a requirement for a mechanism whereby data and information on potential outbreaks of foodborne pathogens can be disseminated rapidly to those who need to know. The Enter-net dedicated surveillance network provides this mechanism, complemented by the Salm-gene molecular typing network. Data on epidemiological and microbiological features on current cases, as well as background levels of infections are immediately available within the Enter-net databases. The Salm-gene network with its database of harmonized salmonella PFGE patterns from the participating European countries provides immediate, and electronically exchangeable, DNA fingerprints of outbreak strains. This prompt electronic dissemination of information regarding unusual events with international implications ensures that public health interventions can be implemented and cases of foodborne disease prevented.