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article imageWhy 2018 was a bad year for food poisoning

By Tim Sandle     Jan 3, 2019 in Health
Outbreak data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that 2018 was a bad year for food safety outbreaks, one of the worst on record. The CDC investigated 28 outbreaks, much more than the eight outbreaks in 2017.
Data compiled from Bioexpert assesses the step change with food related outbreaks is significant. Part of the change relates to improvements with reporting and technology; however, other reasons could be attributable to a reduction in standards.
In terms of what an outbreak is, this is when two or more people get the same illness and investigation shows it came from the same contaminated food or drink. Under these circumstances the event is called a foodborne disease outbreak. In the U.S. around 48 million people, or one in six, develop a foodborne illness each year and the disease kills about 3,000 of them
The headline grabbing outbreaks of 2018 were the two related to the bacterium Escherichia coli O157: H7 in romaine lettuce. This led to produce being withdrawn from the market. These incidences were covered by Digital Journal’s Karen Graham in April and November 2018.
Another notable event was JBS Tolleson’s triggering of a massive multistate recall due to the bacterium Salmonella Newport. Furthermore, the microscopic parasite Cyclospora was found in produce grown in the United States and caused recalls at McDonald's salads and Del Monte vegetable trays.
The top ten food poisoning outbreak of 2018 were, based on CDC data:
Romaine lettuce 2 outbreaks coli O157: H7
Ground beef JBS SalmonellaNewport
Cyclospora 2 outbreaks Fresh Express and DelMonte
Kratom Salmonella
Raw Turkey SalmonellaInfections Jennie-O Turkey
Kellogg’s Honey Smacks Cereal – SalmonellaMbandaka
Hy-Vee Spring Pasta salad SalmonellaSan diego
Chicken salad SalmonellaTriple T Specialty Meats Inc.
Raw chicken Salmonella Infantis
Pre-cut melons Caito Foods, SalmonellaAdelaide
In terms of these issues signalling declining standards, this represents the "wakeup calls along the way" that prove to the industry "how imperative a strong food safety culture is," according to Mike Taylor, co-chairman of the nonprofit's board and a former deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in conversation with CNN.
To add to this, foodborne-illness attorney Bill Marler tells Business Insider that the uptick in outbreaks could be tied to the government catching smaller incidents earlier, increases in imports, and a dangerous-but-growing emphasis on convenience in the food industry.
More about Food poisoning, food scare, Microbiology, Infection
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