Taking a bite out of food borne illnesses

After increasing in the 1990s, food-borne illnesses are now on a sharp decline, according to a report from the American Centres for Disease Control.

  • Between 1996 and 2004, the most severe type of food-borne illness – E. coli 0157 infections – decreased by 42 per cent to less than one case per 100,000 people.

  • Listeria, found in raw milk, soft cheeses and raw vegetables, has dropped by 40 per cent.

  • Campylobacter, found in raw chicken, has dropped 31 per cent, while yersinia, found in meat, oysters, fish and raw milk, decreased 45 per cent.

  • Salmonella, found in raw eggs, fell by 8 per cent.

    Observers attribute increased training and oversight in food factories, greater consumer awareness, and testing and safety measures based on those used by NASA to keep food on moon flights safe from bacteria and toxin.

    However, vibrio, found in raw shellfish, has increased by 47 per cent. The Food and Drug Administration is unsure what is causing the increase, but new processing technologies that can eliminate vibrio have not yet been widely adopted.

    Source: Elizabeth Weise, Food-borne Illnesses Decline Dramatically, USA Today, April 18, 2005.

    For text: http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2005-04-17-food-illness_x.htm

    For CDC press release: http://www.cdc.gov/od/oc/media/pressrel/r050414.htm

    For more on Health Issues: Public Health:http://www.ncpa.org/iss/hea/

    FMF Policy Bulletin/ 26 April 2005
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