Poultry, leafy vegetables top foodborne illness causes

by FoodBusinessNews.net Staff
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ATLANTA — The food commodities associated with the largest number of cases of illness in 2006 were poultry (21% of all outbreak-associated cases), leafy vegetables (17%), and fruits-nuts (16%), according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Norovirus and Salmonella were the leading causes of outbreaks that year.

There were 1,270 reported foodborne illness outbreaks in 2006, which resulted in 27,634 illnesses and 11 deaths. Among the 1,270 outbreaks, 621 had a confirmed single cause; the cause was most often norovirus (54% of outbreaks), followed by Salmonella (18%). The analysis was done on data from 243 outbreaks in which a single food commodity was identified and reported to the C.D.C.

"Determining the proportion of outbreak-associated cases of foodborne illness due to the various food commodities is an important step," said Dr. Patricia M. Griffin, M.D., chief of the C.D.C.’s Enteric Diseases Epidemiology Branch. "Identification of particular food commodities that have caused outbreaks can help public health officials and the food industry to target control efforts from the farm to the table."

The full report, "Surveillance for Foodborne Disease Outbreaks — United States, 2006" is available on-line at www.cdc.gov/mmwr.

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