Downward Trend in Foodborne Disease Continues

NEW ZEALAND - The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is well on track to meet its aim of reducing illness among New Zealanders caused by major foodborne diseases, according to a government report.
calendar icon 15 July 2011
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In 2007, the New Zealand Food Safety Authority, now part of MAF, adopted public health goals for the five-year period 2008-2012. They are:

  • reducing foodborne campylobacteriosis by 50 per cent
  • reducing foodborne salmonellosis by 30 per cent, and
  • ensuring there are no increases in foodborne listeriosis.

MAF's latest Foodborne disease in New Zealand report estimates 3,957 cases of foodborne campylobacteriosis in 2010 from the national total of 7,346 reported cases from all sources. There were an estimated 8,652 foodborne cases in 2006.

MAF Public Health Principal Adviser, Dr Donald Campbell, commented: "MAF will meet its present goal for reducing foodborne campylobacteriosis if this trend continues."

He attributes the drop in food-related Campylobacter infections to a joint effort by the Government and the poultry industry under the 'Campylobacter Risk Management Strategy'.

He continued: "New Zealand had the highest rate of reported Campylobacter infection in the world. It's great to see us peg this back significantly, although we cannot ease off in our efforts to reduce the number of sick people."

The report also shows a declining rate of foodborne salmonellosis that is tracking to meet MAF's five-year goal. In 2010, there were an estimated 557 cases of foodborne salmonellosis, compared with the estimated 658 cases in 2006.

Dr Campbell says the rate of foodborne infection for listeriosis has remained at around 4.5 per 100,000 of population since 2007, which is in line with MAF's goals. Eighteen cases of listeriosis were estimated to be foodborne in 2010.

In addition, the report shows a significant decline in gastroenteritis, with 492 cases reported in 2010, compared with 937 in 2006.

The Institute of Environmental Science and Research produces the Foodborne disease in New Zealand report annually for MAF.

To view the full report, Foodborne disease in New Zealand 2010, click here.

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