Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
AgriGenomics
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Number of Foodborne Illness Cases Largely Unchanged in U.S.

Published: Tuesday, May 07, 2013
Last Updated: Tuesday, May 07, 2013
Bookmark and Share
Recently released reports about the frequency of foodborne illness show that the risks have not changed much in recent years, according to an expert in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.

The reports received a lot of attention by the news media the last few weeks.

One of those reports was the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's annual "Trends in Foodborne Illness in the United States 2012." In that document, the CDC analyzes data from FoodNet, a system that tracks foodborne illness in about 10 states, and then projects these numbers for the entire country.

"The report pointed out that despite efforts at public education aimed at prevention, the rates of foodborne illness largely have remained unchanged," said Martin Bucknavage, food-safety specialist with Penn State Extension. "Salmonella still remains one of the most common causes of foodborne illness, and the number of cases remained roughly the same."

The report indicated, however, that there was an increase in the rate of Campylobacter infection, But Bucknavage noted that there may be an explanation for that rise that is unrelated to more cases of illness.

"I think it can be argued that this may be the result of increased testing for Campylobacter and that the methodology for testing has improved," he said. "Campylobacter has traditionally not been an easy organism to culture, so as methodologies have improved, one would guess that labs will find it more often."

Raw poultry is a main source of Campylobacter, and while the food industry is working to reduce levels on poultry, Bucknavage pointed out, there is no magic bullet for eliminating it from poultry at the processing level.

So it comes down to consumers controlling it through proper preparation -- cooking poultry to the right temperature -- as well as proper handling, such as preventing cross-contamination of food items with the raw product, he explained.

Vibrio is another pathogenic organism that has seen an increase, and the primary vehicle for Vibrio is raw oysters. "There are not many cases reported, probably because there are not many people who eat raw oysters," Bucknavage said.

"If consumers ate raw oysters as much as they ate bagged leafy greens, the numbers for Vibrio infections would dwarf all others."

People wonder if the numbers of foodborne illness cases have changed in recent years, Bucknavage acknowledged. Despite reports to the contrary, he suspects that there actually are fewer cases.

"We know that there are foods that are risky, such as raw oysters, and that practices for handling and preparing food need to improve throughout the food chain from the farm to the table," he said. "But one sign I have seen comes from the businesses that aid victims of foodborne illness -- the food-illness lawyers.

"According to a posting by one of the preeminent firms from that group, business is down."

The other report that garnered media attention, "Risky Meat: A CSPI Field Guide to Meat and Poultry Safety," was issued by the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Bucknavage suggested the title of this document should have been "Meats that Pose a Risk for Those Who Fail to Properly Cook and Clean."

The strength of the CSPI report is that it reminds us that raw meat has the potential to carry pathogenic bacteria, Bucknavage said. "But the sound bite heard over and over in the media was that chicken and hamburger are high-risk meats. Well, these meats are only risky if they are not properly handled and prepared.

"While the meat and poultry industry works to reduce the levels of pathogenic microorganisms on raw meat products, those items still have the potential to carry pathogenic micro-organisms.  But the risk is for people who mishandle or improperly prepare them."


Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,500+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 3,700+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Using Information Technology to Tackle the Root of World Hungar
Scientists are studying what the rest of us don't see--the work going on underneath the ground that enables the growth of healthier crops.
Monday, August 12, 2013
Penn State Researchers Part of Award-Winning Africa Research Team
College of Agricultural Sciences scientists are part of a research team that recently won 2013 Africa Collaboration Challenge Prize.
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Changing Cellulose-Forming Process May Tap Plants' Biofuel Potential
Changing the way a plant forms cellulose may lead to more efficient, less expensive biofuel production, according to Penn State engineers.
Monday, April 29, 2013
Cattle Expert: New Livestock Identification Regulations Not Burdensome
The new livestock identification program recently launched by the federal government should not place a significant burden on producers in Pennsylvania or the East.
Monday, April 29, 2013
Latest Food Scare Avoided with Proper Handling and Cooking
Seems like every month there is a new food scare that makes the national news. Most recently, it was antibiotic-resistant bacterial pathogens found in pork.
Thursday, December 13, 2012
Scientific News
Marijuana Genome Unraveled
A study by Canadian researchers is providing a clearer picture of the evolutionary history and genetic organization of cannabis, a step that could have agricultural, medical and legal implications for this valuable crop.
Grape Waste Could Make Competitive Biofuel
The solid waste left over from wine-making could make a competitive biofuel, University of Adelaide researchers have found.
Accelerating Forage Breeding to Boost Livestock Productivity
International expert skill-sets in genomics and bioinformatics enhance our capacity to breed improved forages for Africa.
Firefly Protein Enables Visualization of Roots in Soil
A new imaging tool from a team led by Carnegie’s José Dinneny allows researchers to study the dynamic growth of root systems in soil, and to uncover the molecular signaling pathways that control such growth.
So Long, Snout
Research helps answer how birds got their beaks.
The Tree of Life — More Like A Bush
New species evolve whenever a lineage splits off into several. Because of this, the kinship between species is often described in terms of a ‘tree of life’, where every branch constitutes a species.
Algae Nutrient Recycling is a Triple Win
Sandia method cheaper, greener and cuts competition for fertilizer.
Non-Transgenic Rapeseed Product Launched For Chinese Market
Cibus and Rotam have announced a new agreement to cooperate in the development of herbicide-tolerant rapeseed in China.
TGAC Leads Development to Diminish Threat to Vietnam’s Most Important Crop
Advanced bioinformatics capabilities for next-generation rice genomics in Vietnam to aid precision breeding.
BESC Creates Microbe That Bolsters Isobutanol Production
Another barrier to commercially viable biofuels from sources other than corn has fallen with the engineering of a microbe that improves isobutanol yields by a factor of 10.
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,500+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,700+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FREE!