Incidence of illnesses still increasing

Weekly Report: 'US is failing basic food safety’

Attempts to reduce food poisoning are failing as the US incidence of foodborne illnesses continues to increase. Infections from five of eight pathogens tracked by the CDC are on the rise.

Initial analysis of data comparing the period from 2016-2018 with numbers for 2019 (see table below) shows that the federal government’s Healthy People 2020 targets for reducing foodborne illness will not be met, according to the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The bad news could be softened if businesses would adopt proven food safety measures, according to the research team.

“. . . progress in controlling major foodborne pathogens in the United States has stalled,” according to the report. “To better protect the public and achieve forthcoming Healthy People 2030 foodborne disease reduction goals, more widespread implementation of known prevention measures and new strategies that target particular pathogens and serotypes are needed.”

A network of labs in 10 states, dubbed FoodNet, tracks the eight foodborne pathogens covered in the report: Campylobacter, Cyclospora, Listeria, Salmonella, Shigella, shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC), Vibrio, and Yersinia. Infections caused by Listeria, Salmonella, and Shigella remained flat. Illnesses from all other pathogens showed increases.

The research team specifically held up leafy greens and other fresh produce as problematic.

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