Salmonella infections decreased 9% in 2013

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) has released a report that shows that foodborne infections continue to be an important public health problem in the United States.

April 23, 2014

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) has released a report that shows that foodborne infections continue to be an important public health problem in the United States. The rate of Salmonella infections decreased about 9% in 2013 compared with the previous three years, bringing it to the rate last observed in the 2006–2008 baseline period. However, campylobacter infections, often linked to dairy products and chicken, have risen 13% since 2006–2008. Vibrio infections, often linked to eating raw shellfish, were at the highest level observed since active tracking began in 1996; however, rates of infections caused by Vibrio vulnificus, the most severe species, have remained steady. Rates of the other foodborne infections tracked have not changed since the 2006–2008 period.

“CDC data are essential to gauge how we’re doing in our fight against foodborne illness,” said Robert Tauxe, Deputy Director of CDC’s Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases. “This year’s data show some recent progress in reducing Salmonella rates, and also highlight that our work to reduce the burden of foodborne illness is far from over. To keep Salmonella on the decline, we need to work with the food industry and our federal, state, and local partners to implement strong actions to control known risks and to detect foodborne germs lurking in unsuspected foods.”

The data for the report card come from the Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet), a group of experts from CDC, 10 state health departments, the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA FSIS), and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In 2013, FoodNet logged just over 19,000 infections, 4,200 hospitalizations, and 80 deaths from the nine germs it tracks.

New standards for cut-up poultry parts and plans to modernize poultry inspection are already in the works to increase the safety of chicken. Regulations designed to help prevent food safety problems have been proposed for many sectors of the food industry, including produce farms, food facilities, food importers, food transporters, and third-party auditors/certification bodies.

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