Poultry Beef And Leafy Vegetables Most Common Causes Of Food Poisoning, USA

Aug 15th, 2010 | By healthnews | Category: Health

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Main Category: Nutrition / Diet
Also Included In: Infectious Diseases / Bacteria / Viruses;  GastroIntestinal / Gastroenterology;  Public Health
Article Date: 15 Aug 2010 – 8:00 PDT

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There were 1,079 reported cases of foodborne disease outbreaks in the USA in 2007, with poultry being the leading cause, followed by beef and leafy vegetables, according to a CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) report. There were 21,244 illnesses and 18 deaths linked to these outbreaks.

The report reveals that Norovirus was the most frequently confirmed foodborne agent (39%), followed by Salmonella (27%).

Chris Braden, acting director of the CDC’s Division of Foodborne, Waterborne and Environmental Diseases, said:

Knowing more about what types of foods and foodborne agents have caused outbreaks can help guide public health and the food industry in developing measures to effectively control and prevent infections and help people stay healthy.

In over half of all cases experts were unable to determine which food or foodborne agent was responsible for an outbreak, especially when few people were affected, the report says. 45% (497) of the 1,097 reported outbreaks confirmed that one foodborne agent was responsible – more than one foodborne agent was responsible in 12 outbreaks.
The report informs that poor hand hygiene by food handlers is the most common cause of norovirus outbreaks – e.g. the handler did not wash his/her hands after going to the toilet. Salmonella outbreaks most commonly occur when foods are tainted with animal feces.

Tainted foods are most commonly of animal origin, such as eggs, milk, beef and poultry. However, vegetables may also be contaminated. Cooking the food through thoroughly destroys Salmonella.

The most common causes for illnesses in the 235 outbreaks where one food commodity was identified were (2007):

  • Poultry – 691 illnesses.
  • Beef – 667 illnesses.
  • Leafy vegetables – 590 illnesses.

The CDC tracks 17 food commodity categories.

“Surveillance for Foodborne Disease Outbreaks – United States, 2007″
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, CDC

Written by Christian Nordqvist

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