Each year, one in six Americans, amounting to 48 million people, become sick and 3,000 people die of foodborne diseases. Reducing foodborne illness by even just 10 percent would keep five million Americans from illness each year.[i]
What are foodborne outbreaks?
In the U.S., there are millions of foodborne illness outbreaks every year caused by consumption of contaminated foods or beverages. It is the responsibility of public health officials to investigate these outbreaks to control them and prevent others from becoming ill from similar outbreaks.[ii]
What are the leading causes of foodborne deaths, hospitalizations, and illnesses?[iii]
Salmonella, Toxoplasma, Listeria, and Norovirus caused the most deaths.
Salmonella, Toxoplasma , Norovirus, and Campylobacter caused the most hospitalizations.
Norovirus caused the most illnesses. Although Norovirus usually causes a mild illness, it is a leading cause of foodborne deaths because it affects so many people.
What is the role of policymakers in foodborne illness outbreaks?
Foodborne illnesses are a serious public health problem in the U.S., and present not only health risks but also a high economic burden. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that there are approximately 76 million new cases of food-related illness in the U.S. every year. This has resulted in 5,000 deaths, 325,000 hospitalizations loss of productivity, and high costs to the health system and patients. Policymakers need to understand costs and risks to states that foodborne illness cause, and that they must be prepared with effective prevention and control policies.[iv]
(Source: CDC/ Amanda Mills)
Guidelines for Foodborne Disease Outbreak Response
This publication by the Council to Improve Foodborne Outbreak Response (CIFOR) addresses some of the most critical elements of a more effective, prevention-oriented food safety system and points the way toward a better system of outbreak response.
This website has information regarding food poisoning and product recalls. It also provides information on how to prepare and store food safely to prevent illnesses.
Council to Improve Foodborne Outbreak Response (CIFOR) Guidelines for Foodborne Disease Outbreak Response Toolkit
The toolkit by the CIFOR guides public health practitioners through a series of worksheets intended to help jurisdictions identify the recommendations which will work best for them. It was developed to further help states and cities to understand the contents of their Guidelines and how to implement appropriate recommendations.
Making Food Safer to Eat: Reducing Contamination from the Farm to the Table
June 2011's Vital Signs report by the CDC focuses on foodborne illness. Each year, 1 in 6 people in the US gets sick from eating contaminated food. The 1,000 or more reported outbreaks that happen each year reveal familiar culprits—Salmonella and other common germs. The report offers solutions to reduce infection rates.
American Chemistry Council's Food Safety and Surface Disinfectant website
American Chemistry Council has resources on food safety and disinfecting your kitchen in order to reduce foodborne illnesses.
Trends in Foodborne Illness, 2012
This publication by the CDC documents the trends in foodborne illness, which are essential in knowing how to help reduce overall foodborne illness outbreaks. FoodNet tracked the trends and created the annual report that allows the CDC, their partners, and policymakers to know the level of progress made in reaching national goals to reduce foodborne illness.
Health-Related Costs from Foodborne Illness in the United States
This paper provides policymakers with measures of the economic burden of foodborne illness with a focus on acute foodborne illness and a few long-term health-related costs. The paper concludes that the best estimate for the cost of foodborne illness in the U.S. is $152 billion a year.