Foodborne Illnesses Linger in the US

US - US made little progress in containing foodborne illness in 2007, according to a government report released on Thursday.
calendar icon 11 April 2008
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The US Centers for Disease Control and prevention (CDC) stated that foodborne illnesses in the US have remained constant since 2004, meaning they are going strong without any decline.

It suggested that consumers can reduce their risk for foodborne illness by following safe food-handling recommendations and by avoiding the consumption of unpasteurized milk, raw or undercooked oysters, raw or undercooked eggs, raw or undercooked ground beef, and undercooked poultry.

"We don't consider this a success at all. We want to see these numbers going down,"
Nancy Donley, president of Safe Tables Our Priority

The risk for foodborne illness can also be decreased by choosing in-shell pasteurized eggs, irradiated ground meat, and high pressure-treated oysters.

There have been significant declines in certain foodborne illnesses since the late 1990s, however, all the improvements occurred before 2004, said federal health officials.

According to the report, in 2007, the estimated incidence of infections caused by Campylobacter, Listeria, Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O157 (STEC O157) , Salmonella, Shigella, Vibrio, and Yersinia did not change significantly, and Cryptosporidium infections increased compared with 2004-2006.

The data were collected under a collaborative effort among CDC, the FDA, the Department of Agriculture and state surveillance sites.

"We don't consider this a success at all. We want to see these numbers going down," said Nancy Donley, president of Safe Tables Our Priority, which was founded by victims of food poisoning.

The 2007 outbreaks tied to processed foods "certainly indicate a need for more attention," CDC's Dr. Robert Tauxe added.

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