June 20, 2024

How Many Food Poisoning Outbreaks Were Unsolved in 2022?

How many FDA-regulated food poisoning outbreaks were unsolved in 2022? Taking a look at the FDA’s CORE Outbreak Investigation Table, there were 25 multi-state outbreaks in 2022 that the FDA believes were linked to foods that agency monitors. Of those 25 outbreaks, 13 outbreaks were unsolved. The minimum number of people sickened in those unsolved outbreaks was 483.

How Many Food Poisoning Outbreaks Were Unsolved in 2022?

Every year in the United States, 48,000,000 people are sickened from contaminated food. There are 128,000 hospitalizations and about 3,000 people die.

The FDA and USDA started using outbreak tables to inform the public about these events. The tables do not have much information until there is some action that consumers can take. However, before the tables were introduced, the public was never informed about these outbreaks at all.

Breaking down the list, there were four E. coli outbreaks (three E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks and one Enteroinvasive E. coli O143:H25 outbreak), five Salmonella outbreaks (Salmonella Mississippi, Salmonella Senftenberg, Salmonella Braenderup, Salmonella Paratyphi B var. L(+) tartrate+, and Salmonella Saintpaul), two cyclospora outbreaks, and two Listeria monocytogenes outbreaks that will remain mysteries. One Salmonella Typhimurium outbreak that has sickened at least 274 people and has been declared over, is still under investigation.

In addition, an outbreak linked to a meal replacement drink did not have an identified pathogen; adverse events linked to dry cereal did not have an identified pathogen or mechanism; and illnesses associated with a frozen food were never solved.

There are many reasons why an outbreak is not definitively linked to a food, restaurant, processor, or farm. It could be that by the time the outbreak is identified, the food has been discarded and there is nothing left to test. Patients could have eaten many of the same foods, so a single food can’t be pinpointed.

Sometimes traceback is incomplete and investigators cannot link a processor or farm to an outbreak. And many local and state health departments are underfunded; these investigations are expensive.

The best way the public can help is to go to the doctor when illness strikes. A positive test, whether for Salmonella or Listeria monocytogenes, can help investigators in their search for the suspect food. And if investigators want to interview you, think about agreeing. Your answers may solve an outbreak.

Attorneys at the Pritzker Hageman Food Safety Law Firm

If you have been sickened with a food poisoning infection, please contact our experienced attorneys for help with a possible lawsuit at 1-888-377-8900 or text us at 612-261-0856. Our firm represents clients in lawsuits against grocery stores, restaurants, and food processors.

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