Incidence of food borne illnesses remains steady

by Keith Nunes
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ATLANTA — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported limited progress was made in reducing food borne illnesses in 2013.

The C.D.C. data showed Campylobacter infections have risen 13% since the establishment of a baseline between the years of 2006 to 2008, while vibrio infections, which are often linked to raw shellfish, were at the highest level observed since active tracking began in 1996. However, the rate of Salmonella infections declined by roughly 9% in 2013 compared to the previous three years, while the rates of other food borne illnesses the C.D.C. tracks were unchanged from the period between 2006 and 2008.

Click to enlarge. (Courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)


“This year’s data show some recent progress in reducing Salmonella rates, and also highlight that our work to reduce the burden of foodborne illness is far from over,” said Robert Tauxe, M.D., MPH, deputy director of C.D.C.’s Division of Foodborne, Waterborne and Environmental Diseases. “To keep Salmonella on the decline, we need to work with the food industry and our federal, state and local partners to implement strong actions to control known risks and to detect food borne germs lurking in unsuspected foods.”

The Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet) provided data for the report card. FoodNet consists of resources from the C.D.C., 10 state health departments, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. In 2013, FoodNet recorded more than 19,000 infections, 4,200 hospitalizations, and 80 deaths from the nine pathogens it tracks. The C.D.C. noted that young children were the most affected group for seven of the nine pathogens FoodNet tracks.
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