March 24, 2018

IFSAC Releases Foodborne Illness Source Attribution Estimates for 2013 for Salmonella, E. coli O157, Listeria, and Campylobacter

The Interagency Food Safety Analytics Collaboration (IFSAC) has released foodborne illness source attribution estimates for 2013 for four bacteria: Salmonella, Escherichia coli O157, Listeria monocytogenes, and Campylobacter. This agency is a collaboration between the CDC, the FDA, and the USDA-FSIS. The agency identifies foods that are important causes of human illness. It focuses its efforts on those four bacteria, which are responsible for most food poisoning illnesses in the United States. The CDC estimates that these four pathogens cause 1.9 million foodborne illness cases every year. They base that estimate by calculating the most common food sources that are linked to illnesses. Overall, about 9,000,000 Americans are sickened with food poisoning. More than 56,000 are … [Read more...]

Why Doesn’t Everyone Who Drinks Raw Milk Get Sick?

Over the years, Food Poisoning Bulletin has received many, many messages from people defending raw milk consumption. Every one of these messages has used the claim, "I have drunk raw milk for years and I have never gotten sick." There are several problems with that statement: one is the logical fallacy of a small sample size. But first, some history. There is a Salmonella outbreak that was just discovered in Washington state. Raw milk from Pride & Joy Dairy has teated positive for a rare strain of Salmonella Dublin that sickened and hospitalized two people in that state in January 2017. The dairy's license to sell raw milk was pulled by the Washington State Department of Health. Raw milk has been consumed by people for many years. And many people have been sickened and … [Read more...]

Top 10 Food Poisoning Stories of 2016

These are the top 10 food stories of 2016. We chose them based on the impact they had on the food world and on the people who were sickened in outbreaks, and on how they changed how we look at our food supply. Many of these outbreaks were uncovered by the PulseNet system, a national database of food poisoning illnesses. All of these outbreaks serve as a reminder that everyone needs to be careful about the foods they eat, about where they eat foods, and the importance of thorough handwashing. And this list is a reminder that food companies need to be held accountable when the foods they produce make people sick. 10. Petting Zoo Outbreaks Petting zoo outbreaks became common a few years ago, when a huge outbreak sickened more than 100 people at the Cleveland County Fair in North … [Read more...]

CDC Develops FoodNet Fast For Consumers to Track Outbreaks

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed an interactive online program so consumers can track foodborne illness outbreaks over a 20 year period. The tool is called FoodNet Fast. The database includes confirmed cases of infection reported to FoodNet, which is the CDC's Foodborne Disease Active Surveillance Network. It includes outbreaks from 1996 through 2015. People can search by year, pathogen, age group, sex, and race. To develop the database, officials used surveillance from FoodNet in 10 sites for infections of nine pathogens that are commonly transmitted through food, and also for hemolytic uremic syndrome, a complication of E. coli infections that can cause kidney failure.┬áThe database also tracks how the rates of illness for┬áCampylobacter, … [Read more...]

Iowa Launches Food Poisoning Hotline and Response Initiative

The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced a new joint initiative this week with the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals (DIA) to help reduce the effect of foodborne illness outbreaks in that state. A hotline called IowaSic is now available for residents of that state to call if they think they have been sickened with food poisoning. That hotline number is 1-844-469-2742 (844-IowaSic) and will be answered by trained specialists. Those specialists will start an investigation into the cause and source of the illness. IDPH Medical Director, Dr. Patricia Quinlisk said in a statement, "these departments have joined forces to establish a statewide one-call system Iowans can use to report illnesses associated with food poisoning." Most food poisoning outbreaks are … [Read more...]

You Can Help Solve Foodborne Illness Outbreaks

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a press release detailing how people can help detect and solve food poisoning outbreaks. Every year, about 1 in 6 Americans (48,000,000 people) get sick from a foodborne illness. While most of these cases are individual, some are part of larger outbreaks. If a large number of people are sick in a given period and area, it's called a cluster. A cluster is an outbreak when investigations reveal that the bacteria that made them sick is the same. The CDC uses epidemiologic, traceback, and environmental investigations to help solve these outbreaks. Finding the source of the outbreaks is critical to ending it and to make sure that more people don't get sick. There are currently several active multistate foodborne illness … [Read more...]

PulseNet Prevents 276,000 Food Poisoning Cases a Year

PulseNet, a network coordinated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has prevented about 276,000 cases of food poisoning in the U.S. every year, according to new research published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Every time there is an outbreak, we mention this organization, which matches DNA of pathogenic bacteria to any illnesses in its database. PulseNet began 20 years ago, linking public health labs in this country so details about E. coli, Salmonella, Campylobacter, and Listeria monocytogenes outbreaks can be shared quickly. The illnesses this organization has prevented could have cost the U.S. $507 million in medical bills and lost productivity. The study was conducted by Dr. Robert L. Scharff, Dr. John Besser, Dr. Donald Sharp, Dr. Timothy F. … [Read more...]

USDA Finalizes Ground Meat Safety Rule

The USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today that it has finalized a rule to ensure that retailers can track sources of ground meats. Those products are often recalled and linked to food poisoning outbreaks. FSIS is requiring that all makers of raw ground beef products keep records of the source material so the agency can work with suppliers to recall contaminated products. Ground beef is often made with beef cuts that come from various sources. That increases the likelihood that contaminated meat will further contaminate a large amount of ground beef, and it makes the government's work on tracing suppliers much more difficult. When stores make ground beef by combining beef from different sources and do not keep clear records, recalls become more … [Read more...]

FDA Finalizes FSMA Rules on Produce Safety

The FDA finally finalized the rules on produce safety last week. Michael Taylor, the head of that agency said in a statement, "Its been a long and arduous task, to say the least. Finalizing the rules is just one part of building a modernized food safety system." The Food Safety Modernization Act was passed in 2011. The major rules in that Act have been slowly finalized by the FDA and the Office of Management and Budget. This latest new rule targets produce grows. They must ensure the safety of water in irrigation, since some outbreaks have been caused by produce contaminated by irrigation water that contains Salmonella or E. coli bacteria. They must make sure workers practice good hygiene in the field and while packing. A Cyclospora outbreak linked to imported cilantro lead to a ban … [Read more...]

CDC Releases Report on Multistate Food Poisoning Outbreaks

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released a report titled "Safer Food Saves Lives." In it, they state that more multistate food poisoning outbreaks are being discovered and reported. Those outbreaks are very serious, even though individual food poisoning cases are more common. In fact, multistate outbreaks caused 56% of all deaths in all reported foodborne outbreaks, even though they accounted for just 3% of all outbreaks from 2010 to 2014. In other words, while multistate food poisoning outbreaks are not common, they are more deadly. That's because the bacteria Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria monocytogenes cause 91% of multistate outbreaks. Those bacteria can cause serious illness, severe complications such as hemolytic uremic syndrome, and are deadly. On … [Read more...]

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