December 17, 2017

FDA: Food Poisoning Outbreaks Are Increasing

Food poisoning outbreaks are on the rise, according to the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  And their scope can be be much larger today than ever before.

Better detection is one reason for the increase in the number of outbreaks reported annually, but another is the globalization of the food supply, the agency said in report it put together for Public Health Week.

In the report, the agency describes how  it does its job and the challenges it faces. Because of the way our system getting food from farm to table has changed, outbreaks can happen in widely separated areas making them difficult to detect.

In the caramel apple Listeria outbreak, for example, 35 cases were reported from 12 states- a block of seven states sharing borders in the Southwest: Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, and Utah; two neighboring states in the Midwest: Minnesota and Wisconsin (3);  and three states that did not neighbor others: Missouri, North Carolina and Washington.

listeria-caramel-appleThose who were sickened ate prepackaged, commercially prepared caramel apples made by a number of companies, sold under a variety of brand names at a mix of different stores including grocery, convenience, specialty and wholesale buyers clubs. But all of the apples used to make the treats were supplied by one California company, Bidart Brothers.

Illnesses were reported from October 17, 2014, to January 6, 2015. Eleven were associated with a pregnancy. One fetal loss was reported. There were three cases of Listeria meningitis in children aged 5–15 years. Thirty-four people were hospitalized. Seven people died

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