The annual FoodNet data is out, which pundits will view through their own political filters to reach a pre-ordained conclusion, usually involving the need for regulations, edumucation, and technology.
My filter is: are more people barfing?
It can be depressing to write the same thing ever year – nothing’s changed, and if anything, getting worse. So maybe try something different.
But that would require imagination, creativity and commitment, the things that get stifled in any kind of bureaucracy.
Foodnet tracks the barfing.
The Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet) conducts surveillance in 10 U.S. sites for all laboratory-confirmed infections caused by selected pathogens transmitted commonly through food to quantify them and monitor their incidence. This report summarizes 2012 preliminary surveillance data and describes trends since 1996:
• 19,531 infections, 4,563 hospitalizations, and 68 deaths associated with foodborne diseases were reported in 2012;
• for most infections, incidence was highest among children aged <5 years;
• the percentage of persons hospitalized and the percentage who died were highest among persons aged ≥65 years;
• in 2012, compared with the 2006–2008 period, the overall incidence of infection was unchanged, and the estimated incidence of infections caused by Campylobacter and Vibrio increased.
• estimated incidence of infection was higher in 2012 compared with 2006–2008 for Campylobacter (14% increase; confidence interval [CI]: 7%–21%) andVibrio (43% increase; CI: 16%–76%) and unchanged for other pathogens;
• among 2,318 (34%) Campylobacter isolates with species information, 2,082 (90%) were C. jejuni, and 180 (8%) were C. coli;
• among 496 (90%) serogrouped STEC non-O157 isolates, the most common serogroups were O26 (27%), O103 (23%), and O111 (15%);
• among 6,984 (90%) serotyped Salmonella isolates, the top three serotypes were Enteritidis, 1,238 (18%); Typhimurium, 914 (13%); and Newport, 901 (13%); and,
• among 183 (95%) Vibrio isolates with species information, 112 were V. parahaemolyticus (61%), 25 were V. vulnificus (14%), and 20 were V. alginolyticus (11%).
In 2012, the incidence of infections caused by Campylobacter and Vibrio increased from the 2006–2008 period, whereas the incidence of infections caused byCryptosporidium, Listeria, Salmonella, Shigella, STEC O157, and Yersinia was unchanged. These findings highlight the need to continue to identify and address food safety gaps that can be targeted for action by the food industry and regulatory authorities.
After substantial declines in the early years of FoodNet surveillance, the incidence of Campylobacter infection has increased to its highest level since 2000.Campylobacter infections are more common in the western U.S. states and among children aged <5 years. Although most infections are self-limited, sequelae include reactive arthritis and Guillain-Barré syndrome. Associated exposures include consumption of poultry, raw milk, produce, and untreated water, and animal contact.
Most foodborne illnesses can be prevented. Progress has been made in decreasing contamination of some foods and reducing illness caused by some pathogens, as evidenced by decreases in earlier years. Collection of comprehensive surveillance information further supports reductions in foodborne infections by helping to determine where to target prevention efforts, supporting efforts to attribute infections to sources, guiding implementation of measures known to reduce food contamination, and informing development of new measures. Because consumers can bring an added measure of safety during food storage, handling, and preparation, they are advised to seek out food safety information, which is available online.
Incidence and Trends of Infection with Pathogens Transmitted Commonly Through Food — Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network, 10 U.S. Sites, 1996–2012
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly
April 19, 2013 / 62(15);283-287