A 10-state report released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed little change in the incidence of some foodborne infections after a period of decline.
The findings are from 2007 data reported to the CDC as part of the agency’s Food borne Diseases Active Surveillance Network, FoodNet. FoodNet monitors food borne disease and conducts related epidemiologic studies to help health officials better understand the epidemiology of food borne diseases in the United States. Although the FoodNet population is similar to the U.S. population, the findings are used to detect trends in food borne illness and should not be generalised for the entire U.S. population.
Campylobacter, Listeria, Salmonella, Shigella, E.coli O157, Vibrio, and Yersinia did not decline significantly, and the estimated incidence of Cryptosporidium increased when compared with the previous three years (2004-2006). Although there have been significant declines in the incidence of some food borne infections since surveillance began in 1996, these declines all occurred before 2004.
“The results show that prevention efforts have been partly successful, but there has been little further progress in the most recent years,” said Dr. Robert Tauxe, deputy director of CDC′s Division of Food borne, Bacterial and Mycotic Diseases. ‘‘More needs to be done to make our food safer. We are constantly working to help our public health system better detect, investigate and control outbreaks and to understand how to prevent food borne illnesses from happening in the first place. FoodNet is an important part of our food safety system and is how we measure progress.”
“FoodNet is an important public health surveillance tool,” according to Faye Feldstein, acting director of the Federal Drug Administration’s (FDA) Office of Food Defence. “FDA will continue to support this important endeavour and is committed to pursuing strategies to reduce all food borne illness. FDA′s Food Protection Plan represents a major new initiative that is heavily focused on prevention linked to targeted intervention and rapid response that is taking a production to consumption approach to addressing protection of the food supply.”
Consumers can reduce their risk for food borne illness by following safe food-handling recommendations and by avoiding the consumption of un-pasteurised milk, raw or undercooked oysters, raw or undercooked eggs, raw or undercooked ground beef, and undercooked poultry. The risk for food borne illness can also be decreased by choosing in-shell pasteurised eggs, irradiated ground meat, and high pressure-treated oysters.
(Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: April 2008)