Food safety surveillance

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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ATLANTA – From 1998 to 2008, a high percentage of foodborne disease outbreaks were associated with poultry, fish, and beef, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

Additionally, outbreaks associated with leafy vegetables and dairy products increased dramatically during the 10-year period, while the percentage of outbreaks associated with eggs declined, CDC reported.

During the period reviewed, CDC received reports of 13,405 foodborne disease outbreaks which resulted in 273,120 reported cases of illness, 9,109 hospitalizations and 200 deaths.

Eight pathogens caused 89 percent of the 5,059 confirmed, single-etiology outbreaks, including norovirus (39 percent), Salmonella (26 percent), Shiga toxin–producing E. coli (STEC) (6 percent), scombroid toxin/histamine (5 percent), Clostridium perfringens (5 percent), Staphylococcus enterotoxin (3 percent), ciguatoxin (3 percent), and Campylobacter jejuni (2 percent).

The most common settings for consumers to acquire Salmonella or STEC infections were a restaurant or deli and a private home.

Poultry, fish and beef were implicated most commonly in outbreaks, while the commodities associated with the most outbreak-related illnesses were poultry (17 percent), leafy vegetables (13 percent), beef (12 percent) and fruits/nuts (11 percent), according to CDC.

Outbreaks caused by Salmonella were associated most commonly with poultry, while the largest percentage of foodborne disease outbreaks caused by STEC was attributed to beef, according to CDC. Beef also was responsible for the highest percentage of outbreaks caused by clostridium perfringens followed by poultry and pork. However, clostridium perfringens outbreaks attributed to beef declined over time while poultry-associated outbreaks increased. CDC said the changes were not significant.

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