Food Poisoning Risk Remains High

Food Poisoning

There is good news and bad news on the fight against food poisoning front. The good news is that the cases of salmonella poisoning have dropped, but the bad news is that overall, there is little progress in fighting food poisoning outbreaks. In the U.S., the risk of becoming ill from food poisoning remains too high.

Whether norovirus on cruise ships or salmonella in Foster Farms chicken, the cases of food poisoning continue to plague and frighten diners. In fact, approximately one in six Americans get sick from foodborne diseases each year.

Some improvements in food poisoning protections have been made. However, substantial more work is needed, according to a report in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The report details cases in 10 states of the most common causes of foodborne illness, but the data is believed to be indicative of national food poisoning trends.

Salmonella remains the most frequent cause of food poisoning, accounting for 38 percent of all cases. The Salmonella infection rate has dropped. It fell 9 percent last year and is now at a six-year low. The decline in Salmonella cases is believed to be the result of an outbreak in eggs in 2010 that lead to new U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations regarding the continuous refrigeration of eggs from farm to store. However, the current Salmonella infection rate of 15 cases per 100,000 people has still not reached the CDC goal of 11.4 per 100,000, which they hope to reach by 2020.

The second most common food poisoning cause was from Campylobacter bacterium, which resulted in 35 percent of foodborne infections. Campylobacter infections have risen 13 percent since 2006-2008 and have remained stable over the past five years.

Illness rates from Vibrio, a shellfish bacterial toxic, have spiked recently, according to the CDC. Vibrio still accounts for only 1 percent of food poisoning cases. However, Vibrio infections climbed 168 percent since tracking began in 1996. They rose by one-third in the last three years alone.

Additionally, food poisoning instances from another the E. coli bacteria have also been creeping up after a decline. However, E. coli infections are 30 percent lower than in 1996.

Many public health officials believe the only way to ensure the food poisoning risk no longer remains high is through stricter regulations like the one attributed for the decline in salmonella rates. Two areas cited include overuse of antibiotics building drug-resistant bacterial strains and animals raised in overcrowded conditions and living in their own waste.

To help reduce the threat of food poisoning, the U.S. government is reportedly development some new regulations, including better standards for poultry parts as well as ground chicken and turkey. In addition, the CDC points out that the risk remains high, but restaurants and consumers can mitigate the food poisoning possibilities by following safe practices in their kitchens. These include cooking meat to adequate temperatures, carefully washing produce, using different cutting boards for and surfaces for preparing meat and vegetables.

In addition, the CDC points out that the risk remains high, but restaurants and consumers can mitigate the food poisoning possibilities by following safe practices in their kitchens. These include cooking meat to adequate temperatures, carefully washing produce, using different cutting boards for and surfaces for preparing meat and vegetables.

By Dyanne Weiss

Sources:
Health Day
Live Science
ABC News

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