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CDC Food Safety Announcements

This page contains all CDC Food Safety announcements, organized by date. The most recent announcements are at the top. To sign up to receive email updates on Food Safety topics, enter your email address in the "Get email updates" box on the right side of this page.


July 2015: Food Safety Publications for Summer Reading

Suggestions for Summer Reading

Looking for something to add to your summer reading list? Check out these four recent publications from CDC’s food safety scientists.


2013 multistate outbreaks of Cyclospora cayetanensis infections associated with fresh produce: focus on the Texas investigations.

  • The 2013 multistate outbreaks contributed to the largest annual number of reported U.S. cases of cyclosporiasis since 1997. In this paper, the authors focus on investigations in Texas. Read more.

Identification and characterization of multidrug-resistant Salmonella enterica serotype Albert isolates in the United States.

  • Turkeys are a likely source of the multidrug-resistant Salmonella enterica serotype Albert. Circulation of resistance plasmids, as opposed to the expansion of a single resistant strain, is playing a role. More work is needed to understand why these resistance plasmids spread and how they contribute to human disease. Read more.
Pulse Field Gel Electrophoresis cover

Pulse Field Gel Electrophoresis: Methods and Protocols (Methods in Molecular Biology) 2015 Edition

  • This book guides readers through standardized PFGE methods and protocols that promote collaboration between laboratories for disease monitoring and control. Read more.

Multistate outbreak of listeriosis caused by imported cheese and evidence of cross-contamination of other cheeses, USA, 2012.

  • In 2012, an outbreak of Listeria infections linked with contaminated cheese sickened 22 people, causing four deaths and a fetal loss. Careful epidemiological and laboratory investigation identified imported ricotta salata as the sources of contamination for at least six patients and cross-contamination of other cheeses that sickened additional patients. Read more.
Tap water runnning into glass with ice.

Quick Links

As a bonus, here are three links to publications on waterborne diseases to add to your summer reading list:

June 2015: CDC Foundation Releases Business Pulse: Food Safety

Business Pulse Focuses on Food Safety

Graphic: Business Pulse. Food Safety

Business Pulse: Food Safety, published today by the CDC Foundation, focuses on how CDC fights foodborne diseases to protect American consumers and businesses from contaminated foods. The quarterly business feature also includes resources and practical tools to help employers improve food safety in the workplace and create a culture of food safety.

Food that is unsafe and makes people sick has a ripple effect on businesses, communities and the U.S. economy. Promoting a culture of food safety is important for all businesses. 

Did You Know?

Graphic: Business Pulse. Food Safety
  • A person suffering from a foodborne, diarrheal illness misses an average of three days of work or school. 
  • Foodborne illness is estimated to cost America more than $15.5 billion annually, according to a 2015 report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In This Issue 

  • Information and helpful links on the food safety challenges faced by all businesses.
  • Robert Tauxe, M.D., M.P.H., deputy director of CDC’s Division of Foodborne, Waterborne and Environmental Diseases, answers five questions about food safety best practices for employers.
  • An interactive infographic that provides useful facts and links to online CDC tools, guidelines and resources.

Learn More

Produced by the CDC Foundation, Business Pulse focuses on a different topic each quarter. Explore benefits associated with CDC’s work to protect Americans—including businesses and their workforces—from chronic threats that impact health and productivity to major health emergencies.


June 2015: 2013 NARMS Human Isolates Report

NARMS 2012 Annual Report

Antibiotic Resistance in Foodborne Germs is an Ongoing Threat

The news about trends in antibiotic resistance in foodborne germs is mixed. According to human illness data posted online today by CDC, the ongoing public health threat of antibiotic resistance in foodborne germs continued to show both positive and challenging trends in 2013. The National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) tracks changes in the antibiotic resistance of six types of common foodborne germs found in sick people, retail meats, and food animals.

The good news from the 2013 NARMS Annual Human Isolates Report is that multidrug resistance (resistance to three or more classes of antibiotics) in Salmonella has not increased, remaining at 10% of infections. However, resistance in some types of Salmonella is increasing. For example, multidrug resistance in a common Salmonella serotype called I4,[5],12:i:- was 46%, more than double the rate from two years before. Campylobacter, another germ that is transmitted by food, showed one in four samples from sick people are still resistant to quinolones like ciprofloxacin.

In 2013, NARMS tested more than 5,000 germs from ill people for antibiotic resistance.
~ 2013 NARMS Annual Human Isolates Report

Graphic: Antibiotic Resistance: From the Farm to the Table. Resistance: All animals carry bacteria in their intestines. Antibiotics are given to animals. Antibiotics kill most bacteria. But resistant bacteria survive and multiply. Spread: Resistant bacteria can spread to animal products, produce through contaminated water or soil, prepared food through contaminated surfaces, and the environment when animals poop. Exposure: People can get sick with resistant infections from contaminated food and contaminated environment. Impact: Some infections cause mild illness, severe illness, and may lead to death.

Most Salmonella and Campylobacter infections cause diarrheal illness that resolves within a week without antibiotics. However, these germs can also cause infection of the bloodstream and other sites. When germs are resistant, antibiotics may be ineffective, increasing the chance of a severe illness.

NARMS is a collaboration among state and local public health departments, CDC, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). NARMS helps protect public health by providing information about bacterial resistance, the ways in which resistance is spread, and how resistant infections differ from susceptible infections. Understanding frequency and trends in antibiotic resistance helps doctors to prescribe effective treatment and public health officials to investigate outbreaks faster.

The FY 2016 President’s Budget requests additional funding for CDC to improve early detection and tracking of drug-resistant Salmonella and other urgent antibiotic resistance threats.  The proposed initiative would allow CDC to check nearly every Salmonella sample and many more Campylobacter samples for resistance more quickly.

Learn More

May 2015: Annual Food Safety Reports from CDC

The State of Food Safety in the U.S.

Two recent CDC reports examine the state of food safety in the United States. One measures foodborne illnesses and the other summarizes foodborne outbreaks. Overall, the results from both reports show that progress has been made but more work is needed.

Annual Food Safety Progress Report

The annual food safety progress report measures foodborne illnesses from nine key germs and is produced from 2014 data compiled by the Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet). This year's report showed some progress in reducing infections from E. coli O157 and one type of Salmonella; however, there is still work to be done. Illness from six other infections monitored by FoodNet showed little or no recent improvements.

In 2014, FoodNet identified more than 19,500 infections, 4,445 hospitalizations, and 71 deaths among residents of 10 states that include 15% of the U.S. population. See the full report and accompanying materials.

Food Safety 2014 Progress Report.

Summaries of Foodborne Disease Outbreaks

The National Outbreak Reporting System (NORS) released their annual summary of foodborne outbreaks. The 2013 data is compiled from the results of foodborne disease outbreak investigations reported to CDC by state and local health departments. 

In 2013, 818 foodborne disease outbreaks were reported, resulting in 13,360 illnesses, 1,062 hospitalizations, 16 deaths, and 14 food recalls.

See the full report.

Graphic: Foodborne Disease Outbreaks 2013. 818 Outbreaks Reported. 13,360 illnesses. 1,062 hospitalizations. 16 deaths.

Food Outbreaks: The Wanted List

Reflecting on recent outbreaks on foodborne illness can yield important lessons for preventing future outbreaks. A new Medscape slideshow features recent outbreaks of human illnesses traced to food sources that were previously unrecognized as causes of infections (such as raw cashew cheese) or repeat offenders (such as poultry). View slideshow.

Next Steps

Reducing all types of foodborne infections and outbreaks will require a variety of approaches and collaboration between public health, regulatory agencies, industry, and the public. New regulations and continuing industry efforts are focusing on problem areas. Everyone who eats can be part of the solution.

More Information

April 2015: CDC Website Highlights Prevention Activities

Website Highlights Prevention

CDC's National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID) announces the launch of their redesigned website that highlights recent work to prevent the spread of infectious the United States and around the world. We invite you to subscribe to their newsletter (see an excerpt below) to get a monthly "sneak peak" of prevention activities at CDC.

Ebola Update

Little girl holding an ebola poster.

In Liberia, a new patient tested positive for Ebola not long after the country had started its countdown to being free of transmission. Teams are actively engaged in tracing and following contacts. New cases continue to be reported in Guinea and Sierra Leone, but considerable progress is being made in both countries. We will not stop until we get to zero cases. CDC is working with public health officials in Sierra Leone to launch a candidate Ebola vaccine trial.

Learn More

Updated Tuberculosis (TB) Screening Guidelines Identify More Cases Overseas

TB microbes

A CDC study shows that because of new screening guidelines, physicians overseas identified more than 600 additional cases of TB in 2012 among immigrants and refugees bound for the United States in 2012. The study also showed that the updated screening guidelines led to a roughly one-third decrease in the number of TB cases among foreign born within their first year in the United States.

Learn More

Sign Up for Monthly Updates

Each month, CDC’s National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID) is sending highlights of its most recent work to prevent infectious disease. Also included: new infographic of the month, new stories and features, and new publications. Sign up to receive the once-a-month updates.

Sign up

April 2015: Could a Norovirus Vaccine be a Reality?

Lady sitting on bed clutching stomach.

Could a Norovirus Vaccine be a Reality?

Have you ever experienced severe diarrhea or vomiting? If you have, it's likely you had norovirus. If you haven't, chances are you will.

Anyone can get norovirus and you can get it more than once. It is estimated that a person will get norovirus about five times during their lifetime.

Norovirus affects about one in 15 people and contributes to 56,000 to 71,000 hospitalizations and 570 to 800 deaths in the U.S.

Norovirus spreads easily from contaminated food or surfaces or from an infected person.  People with norovirus illness are contagious from the moment they begin feeling sick and for the first few days after they recover. Some people may be contagious for even longer.

Currently, there is not a vaccine to prevent norovirus infection or a drug to treat sick people. But, there is hope for a vaccine.

Coming together to find answers and move towards a vaccine

Transmission electron micrograph (TEM) revealed some of the ultrastructural morphology displayed by Norovirus virions, or virus particles

In February 2015, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, CDC foundation, and CDC brought together norovirus experts from around the world to discuss how to make the norovirus vaccine a reality. Participants came from 17 countries on six continents and included representatives from academia, industry, government, and private charitable foundations.

Important questions remain about norovirus:

  • How do humans develop immunity?
  • How long does immunity last?
  • Does immunity to one strain protect against infection from others?
  • How would a vaccine be used to prevent disease and protect those at highest risk? 

The meeting was a step toward finding answers to these questions and making a norovirus vaccine a reality. (Photo: Microscopic view of norovirus particles)

Most norovirus outbreaks from contaminated food occur in food service settings like restaurants. Just a very small amount of norovirus on your food or your hands can make you sick. The amount of virus particles that fit on the head of a pin would be enough to infect more than 1,000 people.

Facts about norovirus

Norovirus is the leading cause of disease outbreaks from contaminated food in the US.
  • Leading cause of diarrhea and vomiting in the United States. Each year, norovirus causes 19 to 21 million illnesses (about one in 15 people) and contributes to 56,000 to 71,000 hospitalizations and 570 to 800 deaths in the U.S. 
  • Global disease. Norovirus is also a major cause of diarrheal disease worldwide accounting for nearly 20% of all diarrheal cases. In developing countries, it is associated with approximately 50,000 to 100,000 child deaths every year.
  • Many names, same symptoms. Norovirus is the most common cause of diarrhea and vomiting (also known as gastroenteritis) and is often referred to as food poisoning or stomach flu. Norovirus is not related to the flu (influenza). Though they may share some of the same symptoms, the flu is a respiratory illness caused by influenza virus.
  • Serious for some, but not most. For most people, norovirus illness is not serious and they get better in one to three days. But it can be serious in young children, the elderly, and people with other health conditions and can lead to severe dehydration, hospitalization, and even death.  
  • Spreads quickly. Norovirus spreads quickly from person to person in enclosed places like nursing homes, daycare centers, schools, and cruise ships. It is also a major cause of outbreaks in restaurants and catered-meal settings if contaminated food is served.

Tips to protect against norovirus

Graphic: Protect yourself from norovirus. Wash your hands often. Cook shellfish to 140 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. When you are sick, don't prepare food or care for others. Rinse fruits and vegetables thoroughly. After comiting or having diarrhea, immediately clean and disinfect surfaces and wash soiled laundry.

While there is hope for a norovirus vaccine in the future, there are steps you can take now to protect yourself.

  • Practice proper hand hygiene. Wash your hands carefully with soap and water, especially after using the toilet and changing diapers and always before eating or preparing food. If soap and water aren't available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. These  products can help reduce the number of germs on your hands, but they are not a substitute for washing with soap and water.
  • Take care in the kitchen. Carefully rinse fruits and vegetables and cook oysters and other shellfish thoroughly before eating.
  • Do not prepare food while infected. People with norovirus illness should not prepare food for others while they have symptoms and for at least two days after they have recovered from their illness.
  • Clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces. After throwing up or having diarrhea, immediately clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces using a bleach-based household cleaner, as directed on the product label. If no such cleaning product is available, use a solution made with five tablespoons to 1.5 cups of household bleach per one gallon of water.
  • Wash laundry thoroughly. Immediately remove and wash clothing or linens that may be contaminated with vomit or stool. Handle soiled items carefully—try not to shake them—to avoid spreading virus. If available, wear rubber or disposable gloves while handling soiled clothing or linens and wash your hands after handling. Wash soiled items with detergent at the maximum available cycle length and then machine dry. 


March 2015: Centered on Food Safety Excellence

Minnesota Integrated Food Ssfety Centers of Excellence Logo

Integrated Food Safety Centers of Excellence

The Integrated Food Safety Centers of Excellence serve as resources and provide technical assistance and training for local, state, and federal public health professionals who respond to foodborne illness and outbreaks. CDC's Food Safety Office coordinates the Centers.

Integrated Food Safety Center of Excellence US Map.

Current Centers

In 2012, CDC named five state health departments and their partner academic institutions as Centers of Excellence under the authority of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). 

Projects, Tools, and Training

Example Products from Centers of Excellence

The Centers have products, tools, and trainings available for state and local health departments, including:

  • Training Needs Assessments
  • CIFOR Toolkit Training
  • CIFOR Metrics Evaluation
  • In-Person Collaborative Team Training (e.g. Epi Ready)
  • Surveillance/Outbreak Evaluations and Consultations
  • Student Team Guidance and Training
  • Interviewer Training
  • IT System Set-up and Training
  • Online Trainings
  • Tools, Resources, and Reference Material

Images: top: Tennessee: Free Online Course Series - Outbreak Investigation and Response;  middle: Florida: Foodborne Illness Introductory Video Series; bottom: Colorado: Environmental Health Assessment Quick Train


February 2015: New Method for Attributing Foodborne Illness

Partners Develop New Method for Attributing Foodborne Illness

Graphic: Interagency Food Safety Analytics Collaboration. Coordinating federal food safety analytics.

CDC, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) have developed an improved method for analyzing outbreak data to determine which foods are responsible for illnesses related to four major foodborne bacteria.

Today, the Interagency Food Safety Analytics Collaboration (IFSAC), a partnership among the three agencies, released a report entitled “Foodborne Illness Source Attribution Estimates for Salmonella, Escherichia coli O157 (E. coli O157), Listeria monocytogenes (Lm), and Campylobacter using Outbreak Surveillance Data”.

CDC estimates that, together, these four pathogens causes an estimated 1.9 million cases of foodborne illness in the United States each year.

IFSAC analyzed data from nearly 1,000 outbreaks that occurred from 1998 to 2012 to assess which categories of foods were most responsible for making people sick with Salmonella, E. coli O157, Listeria, and Campylobacter. IFSAC experts divided food into 17 categories for the analysis. The pathogens were chosen because of the frequency or severity of the illnesses they cause, and because targeted interventions can have a significant impact in reducing them.

The report presents the methods behind the results and provides details about the amount of uncertainty around the estimates.  Some of the findings include:

  • More than 80 percent of E. coli O157 illnesses were attributed to beef and vegetable row crops, such as leafy vegetables.
  • Salmonella illnesses were broadly attributed across food commodities, with 77 percent of illnesses related to seeded vegetables (such as tomatoes), eggs, fruits, chicken, beef, sprouts and pork.
  • Nearly 75 percent of Campylobacter illnesses were attributed to dairy (66 percent) and chicken (8 percent). Most of the dairy outbreaks used in the analysis were related to raw milk or cheese produced from raw milk, such as unpasteurized queso fresco.
  • More than 80 percent of Listeria illnesses were attributed to fruit (50 percent) and dairy (31 percent). Data were sparse for Listeria, and the estimate for fruit reflects the impact of a single large outbreak linked to cantaloupes in 2011.

Due to limitations in outbreak data and uncertainty in the estimates, IFSAC recommends caution in interpreting certain findings, such as the estimates for Campylobacter in dairy and Listeria in fruits. IFSAC suggests that the results be used with other scientific data for risk-based decision making.

IFSAC will describe its methods at a public meeting today in Washington, D.C., as part of the overall federal efforts to improve foodborne illness source attribution. For more information on the IFSAC partnership, its goals and projects, please visit the partnership's website.

This flowchart, produced by the Interagency Food Safety Analytics Collaboration (a tri-agency that includes CDC, FDA, and USDA-FSIS) is titled Food Categories with Examples.  Not all food examples shown in this chart have been linked to outbreaks, and many foods not shown have been linked to outbreaks. This categorization scheme updates a former scheme to include more specific information. This scheme has four main categories. The first is Land Animals and includes three sub-categories, Dairy, Eggs, and Meat-Poultry. Examples in Dairy include milk and hard and soft cheeses. Examples in Eggs include whole shell eggs, and egg whites in cartons. Meat-Poultry is divided into three sub-categories, Meat, Poultry, and Game. Meat is further divided into Beef, with ground beef and steaks as examples, Pork, with bacon and hams as examples, and Other Meat, with lambs and goats as examples. The Poultry sub-category is further divided into Chicken, with whole chickens and chicken deli meats as examples, Turkey, with turkey hot dogs and whole turkeys as examples, and Other Poultry, with ducks and ostriches as examples. The Game sub-category includes wild boars and venison as examples. The second main category is Aquatic Animals and includes three sub-categories, Fish, Shellfish, and Other Aquatic Animals. Examples in the Fish sub-category include grouper and tuna. The Shellfish sub-category is further divided into Crustaceans, with crabs and lobster as examples. The Mollusks sub-category is further divided into Bivalve Mollusks, with clams and oysters as examples, and Non-bivalve Mollusks, with octopuses and squid as examples. The sub-category, Other Aquatic Animals, includes frogs and jellyfish as examples. The third main category is Plants and includes four sub-categories, Oils-Sugars, Produce, Grains-Beans, and Nuts-Seeds. Examples in Oils-Sugars include olive oils, canola oils, sugars, and honey. Produce is divided into Vegetables and Fruits. The sub-category Vegetables is further divided into Fungi, Sprouts, Root-underground vegetables, Seeded vegetables, Herbs, and Vegetable row crops. Examples in Fungi include portabellas and button mushrooms. Examples in Sprouts include alfalfa sprouts and mung bean sprouts.  The sub-category, Root-underground vegetables, is further divided into Roots, with examples carrots and beets; Tubers, with examples potatoes and yams; Bulbs, with examples garlic and onions; and Other, with examples ginger and taro. The sub-category, Seeded vegetables, includes Vine-grown, with examples squashes and cucumbers; Solanaceous, with examples tomatoes and peppers; Legumes, with examples lima beans and snow peas; and Other, with examples okras and sweet corns. Examples in the sub-category Herbs include basil and cilantro. Vegetable row crops is further divided into Flowers, with examples artichokes and broccoli; Stems, with examples asparagus and celeries; and Leafy vegetable row crops, with examples lettuce and spinach.  The sub-category, Fruits, is further divided into Melons, with examples cantaloupes and watermelons; Pomes, with examples apples and pears; Stones, with examples apricots and cherries; Small, with examples blueberries and strawberries; Tropical, with examples bananas and mangoes; and Sub-tropical, with examples avocadoes and oranges.  The sub-category, Grains-Beans, is further divided into Grains, with examples rice and wheat; and, Beans, with examples pinto beans and black beans. The sub-category, Nuts-Seeds, is further divided into Nuts, with examples peanuts and almonds; and, Seeds, with examples sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds.The final category, Other, includes examples ice and dietary supplements. This chart is based on work of the Interagency Food Safety Analytics Collaboration, a partnership between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United States Food and Drug Administration, and the United States Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service. Read about the previously-used food categorization scheme in Recipes for foodborne outbreaks: a scheme for categorizing and grouping implicated foods in Foodborne Pathogen Diseases, 2009, Volume 6, pages 1259-64.

Commodity tree depicting food categories with examples. Click for larger view.

Updated Food Categories. These new categories expand on the previously-used food categorization scheme to include more specific classifications. This scheme has four main food groups. The first is Aquatic Animals and includes three categories, Fish, Shellfish, and Other Aquatic Animals.The second main food group is Land Animals and includes three categories, Dairy, Eggs, and Meat-Poultry.  Meat-Poultry is divided into three sub-categories, Meat, Poultry, and Game. Meat is further divided into Beef, Pork, and Other Meat. The Poultry sub-category is further divided into Chicken, Turkey, and Other Poultry. The third main food group is Plants and includes four categories, Oils-Sugars, Produce, Grains-Beans, and Nuts-Seeds. Produce is divided into Vegetables and Fruits. The Vegetables sub-category is further divided into Fungi, Sprouts, Root/Underground Vegetables, Seeded Vegetables, Herbs, and Vegetable Row Crops.   Root/Underground Vegetables is further divided into Roots, Tubers, Bulbs and Other. Seeded Vegetables includes Vine-Grown, Solaneous, Legumes, and Other. Vegetable Row Crops is further divided into Flowers, Stems, and Leafy Vegetable Row Crops.  Fruit, the other sub-category under Produce, is further divided into six sub-categories including Melons, Pomes, Stones, Small, Tropicals, and Sub-Tropicals. The Grains-Beans sub-category under Produce includes both Grains and Beans. The Nuts-Seeds category under Produce includes Nuts and Seeds. The fourth and final food group, Other Foods, includes foods not otherwise contained in the scheme.This chart is based on the work of the Interagency Food Safety Analytics Collaboration, a partnership between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United States Food and Drug Administration, and the United States Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service.Read about the previously-used food categorization scheme in Recipes for foodborne outbreaks: a scheme for categorizing and grouping implicated foods in Foodborne Pathogen Diseases, 2009, Volume 6, pages 1259-64.

Infographic depicting food categories with examples. Click for larger view [PDF - 1 page].

February 2015: Outbreaks from Raw Milk on the Rise

Outbreaks from raw milk on the rise

Outbreaks caused by raw milk increased over a six-year period, according to a newly released CDC study. The study reviewed outbreaks caused by raw milk--milk that has not been pasteurized to kill disease-causing germs--in the United States that were reported to CDC from 2007-2012. The study analyzed the number of outbreaks, the legal status of raw milk sales in each state, and the number of illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths associated with these outbreaks.

More states are legalizing the sale of raw milk even though this leads to an increase in the number of outbreaks.

About the Raw Milk Study:

  • 26 states reported:
    • 81 outbreaks
    • 979 illnesses
    • 73 hospitalizations
  • Outbreaks increased:
    • 30 between 2007-2009
    • 51 between 2010-2012
  • Three germs caused the most outbreaks (2007-2012):
    • Campylobacter - 81%
    • Shiga toxin-producing E.coli - 17%
    • Salmonella - 3%

Findings also showed that the number of states that have legalized the sale of raw milk has also increased. In 2004, there were 22 states where the sale of raw milk was legal in some form; however, this number increased to 30 in 2011. Eighty-one percent of outbreaks were reported in states where the sale of raw milk was legal.

Children were at the highest risk for illness from raw milk. About sixty percent of outbreaks involved at least one child younger than five years of age.

Raw milk is a risk for human health.

You cannot look at, smell, or taste raw milk to determine if it is safe. Cows and other animals can appear healthy and clean, but can still have germs, like Salmonella and E. coli, which can cause illnesses in humans.

Milk cannot be collected without introducing some bacteria—even under ideal conditions of cleanliness. Unless the milk is pasteurized, these bacteria can multiply.

Even raw milk supplied by "certified," "organic," or "local" dairies has no guarantee of being safe. Raw milk from grass-fed animals is not considered safe either.

How does milk get contaminated?

Milk contamination may occur from:

  • Cow feces coming into direct contact with the milk
  • Infection of the cow's udder (mastitis)
  • Cow diseases (e.g., bovine tuberculosis)
  • Bacteria that live on the skin of cows
  • Environment (e.g., feces, dirt, processing equipment)
  • Insects, rodents, and other animal vectors
  • Humans, for example, by cross-contamination from soiled clothing and boots

Is it true that raw milk has more enzymes and nutrients than pasteurized milk?

Graphic: Bottle of milk poured into a glass. Be wise. Only drink milk that's pasteurized.

While it’s true that the heating process of pasteurization does inactivate some enzymes in milk, the enzymes in raw animal milk are not thought to be important in human health. Some nutrients are somewhat reduced in pasteurized milk, but the United States diet generally has plenty of other sources of these nutrients. For example, vitamin C is reduced by pasteurization, but raw milk is not a major source of vitamin C. Read more about the raw milk study.

Learn more about raw milk:

January 2015: Public Meeting Notice: IFSAC Updates

Graphic: Interagency Food Safety Analytics Collaboration. Coordinating federal food safety analytics.

Tri-Agencies to Update Public on Harmonized Foodborne Illness Attribution

CDC, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA),  and USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) will hold a public meeting on Tuesday, February 24, 2015 to update stakeholders on the Interagency Food Safety Analytics Collaboration’s (IFSAC) work to improve foodborne illness source attribution.  Specifically, IFSAC will provide updates on work to develop harmonized foodborne illness source attribution estimates, as well as other analyses IFSAC has undertaken since its formation in 2011. This work can inform food safety strategies. FSIS, FDA, and CDC are also interested in input from stakeholders regarding plans for future IFSAC endeavors.

Meeting Logistics


  • Tri-agency collaboration of
    • Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
    • U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA
    • Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
  • Formed in 2011 with the goal to:
    • Improve coordination of federal food safety analytics efforts
    • Address cross-cutting priorities for food safety data collection, analysis, and use
  • Current focus is foodborne illness source attribution
    • Defined as process of estimating the most common food sources responsible for specific foodborne illnesses
  • Projects and studies aim to identify foods that are important sources of illnesses


  • Tuesday, February 24, 2015, 8:30 am – 5:00 pm EST


  • Jefferson Auditorium in South Building, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), 14th & Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC


  • No fee to register
  • Pre-registration is mandatory for participants attending both in-person and via webcast
  • In-person attendees must check-in onsite the day of the meeting
  • Non-USDA employees must enter through the Wing 4 entrance on Independence Avenue and show a photo ID to enter the building
  • Only pre-registered attendees will be permitted to enter the building 

How to Register:

Onsite registration will not be permitted.  Early registration is recommended because seating is limited.


Additional Information:

Please note the following important dates:

  • February 9, 2015: Closing date for request to make oral comment  
  • February 9, 2015: Closing date to request special accommodations due to a disability
  • February 17, 2015: Closing date for registration
  • April 30, 2015: Closing date to submit comments to Docket Clerk


December 2014: Holiday Food Safety Twitter Chat

CDC invites you to participate in our second annual Holiday Food Safety Twitter Chat. The Twitter chat this year is designed to address the importance of safe food handling, healthy tips for preparing holiday meal favorites, and healthy and safe meal planning and preparation during the Holidays. Our theme this year will be:

Holiday Food Safety: Food Safety Experts Share Lists of What’s Naughty & Nice

The event was a huge hit last year—the largest twitter chat of its kind at the time—reaching 3.8 million people. The success of the event was largely due to CDC’s collaboration with a number of food safety partner organizations, including FDA, USDA,, and a host of others.

This year, we’re hoping to expand our reach and impact even further. CDC plans to partner with a number of guest food-smart connoisseurs, as well as local and national celebrity chefs and food bloggers to contribute their insight and expertise during the twitter chat. We hope your health department will join us for this important food safety awareness event for consumers on easy-to-remember tips for a safe and healthy season. Event details are below:

Date: Thursday, December 11, 2014
Time: 3:00 pm- 4:00 pm EST
To join, follow @CDC_eHealth on Twitter, and be sure to use the hashtag #CDCfoodchat when you participate in the chat.

Graphic: Make a list. Check it twice.  Food safety experts share tips for healthy holiday meals.

November 2014: Raising Awareness About Antibiotic Resistance

Get Smart Week

Dr. Tom Chiller

November 17-23 was Get Smart About Antibiotics Week, an international observance to raise awareness about the threat of antibiotic resistance and the importance of appropriate prescribing and use. Get Smart Week is a key activity in CDC’s efforts to improve antibiotic stewardship in communities, health care facilities, and on farms in collaboration with other partners.
Earlier this year, the White House announced the National Strategy to Combat Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria. To support this, CDC will focus on:

  • Strengthening national surveillance efforts to track resistant bacteria,
  • Advancing development of rapid diagnostic tests to identify and characterize resistant  bacteria, and
  • Improving international collaboration for antibiotic resistance prevention, surveillance, control, and antibiotic research and development.

To accomplish these goals, CDC has submitted a FY 2015 budget request for:

Did You Know?

  • Each year, an estimated two million persons in the United States are infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and approximately 23,000 die as a result.
  • The rise of antibiotic resistance represents a serious threat to human and animal health, national security, and economies worldwide.
  • The use of antibiotics is the single most important factor leading to antibiotic resistance around the world.


CDC partners with National Institute for Animal Agriculture:

The National Institute for Animal Agriculture (NIAA) hosted a three-day symposium (November 12-14) on antibiotic use and resistance, and moving forward through shared stewardship. The NIAA Antibiotics Symposium brought together academia, government researchers, public health experts, the scientific community and stakeholders within animal agriculture, human medicine and the environment.  

CDC's Tom Chiller, Steve Solomon, and Rob Tauxe presented on the human-animal interface of antimicrobial resistance, and Chris Braden provided opening remarks on CDC’s efforts in antibiotic resistance and shared stewardship.

CDC and Partners "Get Smart" on Twitter

Graphic: Antibiotic Resistance Twitter Chat. November 18, 2014.

On November 18, CDC hosted an antibiotic-themed Twitter chat that coincided with Get Smart Week. The Twitter chat featured CDC experts Drs. Tom Chiller, Lauri Hicks, and Loria Pollack, who lent expertise on antibiotic resistance in animals and humans.  

Several European countries, as well as Australia and Canada, also participated in a 24-hour global antibiotic resistance-themed Twitter chat. 

Partners participating in the Twitter chat included American Academy of Pediatrics, NIAA, Perdue, and a host of others.


Twitter chat messages made more than 52.4 million impressions. 

Good-to-Know Info


October 2014: CDC Experts Respond to Ebola Outbreak

CDC Experts Respond to Ebola

Graphic: 2014 Ebola Response. CDC in Action. 700 - Number of CDC staff providing outbreak support in the US.  90 - Number of CDC staff currently deployed to West Africa.

CDC staff from across the agency are responding to the largest Ebola outbreak in history, affecting  multiple countries in West Africa.

Food safety leaders Drs. Chris Braden and Robert Tauxe, along with a number of other food safety staff, have been deployed to CDC's Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and in the field to offer their epidemiology, laboratory, and communications expertise to the Ebola response. 

This is the largest outbreak of Ebola in recorded history, and we anticipate our staff being engaged in the response efforts for the foreseeable future.

As of October 25, 2014:

As of 10/23/2014, 54 staff from the Division of Foodborne, Waterborne and Environmental Diseases have responded to the epidemic, or are scheduled to deploy in the near future.

Quick Win in India

Male lab technician working in lab.

India estimates that 70% of illnesses and outbreaks are caused by acute diarrheal diseases. Understanding what comprises this significant disease burden is a national priority and the focus of a pilot project by India’s CDC (NCDC) in partnership with the Global Disease Detection Center (GDD) Regional Center.

CDC reference laboratory experts and communications staff traveled to India as part of a Global Health Security (GHS) "Quick Win" project to kick-start this work. The trip was the first phase of intensive training in two Indian states (Tamil Nadu and Gujarat) through four pilot sites. The goal of the pilot program was to accurately identify and characterize antibiotic susceptibility of enteric pathogens. These findings will help quantity the large burden of illness so that effective prevention measures can be implemented. Success in these pilot states will be reproduced throughout India. In September, the India trip was mentioned in the White House Meeting "Quick Win Report."


Recent Investigations of Foodborne Outbreaks Reported on

CDC and federal, state, and local public health partners are continuing surveillance to identify and interview ill persons and to identify sources of infection. Read more about current outbreak investigations:

Final Update: Multistate Outbreak of Human Salmonella Infections (Announced October 21, 2014) 

Cilantro Cyclosporiasis (Announced August 2014)

Nut Butter Salmonella (Announced August 2014)

Foodborne outbreak investigations go through several steps to ensure that the public, industry, and researchers have access to timely and accurate information. Learn more about the steps in investigating foodborne outbreaks.


Antibiotic Resistance:

Graphic: Antibiotic Resistance: From the Farm to the Table. Resistance: All animals carry bacteria in their intestines. Antibiotics are given to animals. Antibiotics kill most bacteria. But resistant bacteria survive and multiply. Spread: Resistant bacteria can spread to animal products, produce through contaminated water or soil, prepared food through contaminated surfaces, and the environment when animals poop. Exposure: People can get sick with resistant infections from contaminated food and contaminated environment. Impact: Some infections cause mild illness, severe illness, and may lead to death.

CDC works closely with a number of partners to address foodborne infections from resistant bacteria. These partners include federal agencies, state and local health departments, the food industry, healthcare providers, and academia.

New and improved! CDC's Antimicrobial Resistance and Food Safety page is now live.

You can learn more about CDC's role in combating antibiotic resistance from the following resources:

Collaboration on Food Safety and Antibiotic Resistance:

Coming Next Month:

Spotlight on antimicrobial resistance and food and animal agriculture through shared partnerships


Colored transmission electron micrograph of the Gram-positive anaerobic bacteria, Clostridium botulinum

Colored transmission electron micrograph of the Gram-positive anaerobic bacteria, Clostridium botulinum

Spotlight on Botulism:

Marshall KM, Nowaczyk L 2nd, Raphael BH, Skinner GE, Rukma Reddy N. Identification and genetic characterization of Clostridium botulinum serotype A strains from commercially pasteurized carrot juice. Food Microbiol. 2014 Dec;44:149-55

Raphael BH, Shirey TB, Lúquez C, Maslanka SE. Distinguishing highly-related outbreak-associated Clostridium botulinum type A(B) strains. BMC Microbiol. 2014 Jul 16;14(1):192.

Raphael BH, Bradshaw M, Kalb SR, Joseph LA, Lúquez C, Barr JR, Johnson EA, Maslanka SE. Clostridium botulinum strains producing BoNT/F4 or BoNT/F5. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2014 May;80(10):3250-7.

Gonzalez-Escalona N, Timme R,Raphael BH, Zink D, Sharma SK. single-nucleotide-polymorphism analysis for discrimination of Clostridium botulinum group I strains. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2014 Apr;80(7):2125-32.

July 2014 Special Edition: Antibiotic Resistance in Foodborne Germs

Antibiotic Resistance in Foodborne Germs

CDC reports progress and problems in foodborne germs it tracks

Medical illustration of non-typhoidal Salmonella

Shown above: drug-resistant nontyphoidal Salmonella. Use NARMS' interactive graphs to see the percentage of human isolates that are resistant to antibiotics, by year.

Antibiotic resistance—when bacteria don’t respond to the drugs designed to kill them—threatens to return us to the time when simple infections were often fatal. Antibiotic resistance in foodborne germs showed both positive and troubling trends, according to National Antimicrobial Resistant Monitoring System (NARMS). CDC is the only source of national information on antibiotic resistance in people from foodborne pathogens.

Why is this information important?

  • Each year, antibiotic-resistant infections from foodborne germs cause an estimated 440,000 illnesses in the United States. In severe cases, the right antibiotic can save lives.
  • Understanding trends in antibiotic resistance helps doctors to prescribe effective treatment and public health officials to investigate outbreaks faster.

What’s in the report and on the web?

  • The report from CDC NARMS compares resistance levels in human samples in 2012 to a baseline period of 2003-2007.

It introduces a Campylobacter data and includes links to online interactive graphs where users can choose an organism and an antibiotic and see the “bug-drug” trends from year-to-year in NARMS.


CDC is currently tracking three active outbreaks related to foodborne infections:

Timeline of Events: Multistate Outbreak of Multidrug-Resistant Salmonella Heidelberg Infections Linked to Foster Farms Chicken—United States, 2013

Battling Antibiotic Resistance Together

Who's doing what

The fight against antibiotic resistance is huge...and, determined.  Here's a snapshot of a few soldiers on the frontline and some of their battleplans.

Bigger Issue Than Food

Graphic: The Threat of Antibiotic Resistance. 63% of infectious disease doctors have treated patients with infections that did not respond to any antibiotics. Up to 20 billion. Direct healthcare costs incurred by patients suffering from antibiotic resistant infections each year.

Antibiotic resistance in foodborne germs is part of a bigger problem

Called public health’s ticking time bomb, antibiotic resistance annually causes more than two million illnesses and 23,000 deaths nationwide. Of these, antibiotic resistance in foodborne germs cause about  440,000 illnesses. Tomorrow, if it continues on its current course, could be even worse.

The FY 2015 President’s Budget requests funding for CDC to improve early detection and tracking of multidrug resistant Salmonella and other urgent antibiotic resistance threats.  The proposed initiative would increase CDC’s ability to test drug-resistant Salmonella [PDF - 1 page] by 20 times.  With a $30 million annual funding level over five years, CDC estimates that it could achieve a 25 percent reduction in multidrug resistant Salmonella infections, as well as significant reductions in other resistant infections.

Click to see entire Pew infographic above: The Threat of Antibiotic Resistance.

7 Antibiotic Resistance Threats


Good to Know

CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health has two new exciting food safety tools, and we need your help spreading the word.

  • e-Learning on Environmental Assessment of Foodborne Illness Outbreaks
    • Free interactive online course
    • Prepares individuals for team investigations of foodborne illness outbreaks in restaurants  and other food service areas
    • Continuing education units (CEUs)
  • National Voluntary Environmental Assessment Information System
    • Surveillance system for jurisdictions that inspect and regulate restaurants and other food areas, such as banquet facilities, schools, and other institutions
    • Captures underlying environmental assessment data that describes what happened and how events most likely led to a foodborne illness outbreak

Learn More

May - June 2014: Latest findings on norovirus

New CDC Vital Signs Report

Vital Signs 2014 cover page image

Norovirus often gets attention for outbreaks on cruise ships, but those account for only about 1% of all reported norovirus outbreaks. Norovirus is highly contagious and is the leading cause of disease outbreaks from contaminated food in the United States. Infected food workers are often the source.

June's CDC Vital Signs report presents CDC's latest findings on reported norovirus outbreaks from contaminated food and highlights key recommendations to help the food service industry prevent such outbreaks.

Get more information:

Enforcing food safety practices in the food service industry can help prevent norovirus outbreaks


Recent investigations of foodborne outbreaks reported on

Read how CDC investigates foodborne outbreaks.

Read full reports of CDC's Annual Summaries of Foodborne Outbreaks.


Graph: Foodborne Disease Outbreaks, 2008. Source: Foodborne Disease Outbreak Surveillance System. 2008 was the most recent year for which outbreak data are finalized. Outbreaks reported: 1,034; Cases of illness: 23,152; Hospitalizations: 1,276; Deaths: 22.

New data on foodborne disease outbreaks, norovirus, and E. coli


New web site launched for tri-agency group, Interagency Food Safety Analytics Collaboration (IFSAC)

IFSAC graphic

IFSAC is teaming across agencies to improve coordination of federal food safety analytic efforts and estimates of foodborne illness sources.
Recently, IFSAC--a partnership between Food and Drug Administration, and the Food Safety Inspection Service of the United States Department of Agriculture--expanded on the previously used food categories used to estimate attribution. The addition of more botanically correct categories better reflects production practices and postharvest handling systems, and more readily distinguishes FDA- and FSIS-regulated products.

Learn more about IFSAC.

Learn more about IFSAC's completed projects, including the expanded food catefories used to estimate attribution.

Good-to-Know Info

Graphic: Protect Yourself When Eating Out

Recent research shows that over half of reported foodborne outbreaks occur in restaurants.

Follow these four simple tips to prevent food poisoning when eating out.

1. Check inspection scores
2. Make sure the restaurant is clean
3. Check that your food is cooked thoroughly
4. Properly handle your leftovers

See CDC’s new “Protect Yourself When Eating Out [PDF - 1 page]” infographic to learn more about how you can protect yourself and your family from food poisoning.

April 2014 Special Edition: CDC’s Annual Food Safety Report Card

2013 Progress Report on Six Key Pathogens Compared to 2006-2008

Food safety grades show limited progress in 2013. More can be done.

The nation's food safety grades are out and the results are mixed.

CDC's annual report card, produced by FoodNet (see article below to learn more about FoodNet) shows some recent progress in reducing Salmonella. (See chart at right which shows short-term comparison of 2013 rates to 2010-2012.)

Other pathogens have not shown similar success either in the short or long term and we could be losing ground on past progress in E.coli reduction.

There is a critical need to implement more prevention measures and keep a close eye on these trends over the next year.

Highlights from the 2013 FoodNet report include a comparison of rates for different time periods. For the short term, we compared 2013 with the rates of the preceding three years, 2010-2012. For the longer term, we compared 2013 with the 2006-2008 baseline period. We can even go back to the beginning of FoodNet in 1996.

  • Salmonella infections decreased by about nine percent in 2013 compared with the previous three years.
    • Rates remained the same when compared to the longer term 2006-2008 baseline period
    • Still well above the national goal for 2020 of 11.4 cases per 100,000 people
  • Campylobacter infections have risen 13 percent since 2006-2008.
    • Often linked to contaminated chicken
  • Vibrio infections were at the highest level observed since active tracking began in 1996.
    • Often linked to eating raw shellfish
    • Rates of Vibrio vulnificus, the most severe strain, have remained steady.
  • E.coli infections continue to inch up and the progress noted from previous years has stalled.
    • Still about 30 % lower than our FoodNet baseline year of 1996-1998
  • Rates of the other foodborne infections tracked have not changed since 2006-2008.   

Read more about trends in tracking foodborne illness and this year's food safety report card.

What is FoodNet and why do they track trends in foodborne infections?

"CDC data are essential to gauge how we're doing in our fight against foodborne illness. This year's data show some recent progress in reducing Salmonella rates and highlights that our work to reduce the burden of foodborne illness is far from over. To keep Salmonella on the decline, we need to work with the food industry and our federal, state, and local partners to implement strong actions to control known risks and to detect foodborne germs lurking in unexpected foods."

~Robert Tauxe, M.D., Deputy Director,
CDC's Division of Foodborne, Waterborne and Environmental Diseases

The Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet) collects information to track rates and determine trends in laboratory-confirmed illnesses caused by nine pathogens transmitted commonly through food: Campylobacter, Cryptosporidium, Cyclospora, Listeria, Salmonella, STEC O157 and non-O157, Shigella, Vibrio, and Yersinia. Annual data are compared with data from a recent period (2006–2008) and with data from the preceding three years of surveillance (2010–2012) to measure progress.

FoodNet is a collaboration among CDC, ten state health departments, the US Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service, and the Food and Drug Administration. FoodNet surveillance covers 48 million people, encompassing about 15 percent of the US population. The ten health departments represent the FoodNet surveillance sites and include the states of Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon, and Tennessee, and selected counties in California, Colorado, and New York.

Each year, FoodNet reports on the changes in the number of people in the United States sickened with foodborne infections that have been confirmed by laboratory tests. This annual report card also lets CDC, its partners, and policy makers know how much progress has made in reaching national goals for reducing foodborne illness.

The data behind this year's report card

Incidence and Trends of Infection with Pathogens Transmitted Commonly Through Food — Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network, 10 U.S. Sites, 2006–2013

February - April 2014: Spotlight on Global Health Security

This article, published in CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, is an annual summary of data collected by FoodNet to track rates and determine trends for nine infections.
FoodNet identifies all those infections that are diagnosed by laboratory testing of samples from patients, and also physician-diagnosed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).

This report summarizes 2013 preliminary surveillance data and describes trends since 2006; the information contributes to our understanding of the human health impact of foodborne diseases.

Overall, in 2013, FoodNet logged just over 19,000 infections, 4,200 hospitalizations, and 80 deaths from the nine germs it tracks. Young children were the most affected group for seven of the nine germs that FoodNet tracks.

This information helps regulators, the food industry and consumers understand the progress we are making in preventing them.

Recent efforts and next steps

Most foodborne illnesses can be prevented. But continued efforts are needed to understand how contamination of fresh produce and processed foods occurs and to develop and implement measures that reduce it.

CDC is working with state health departments to develop and implement ways to detect and investigate outbreaks more quickly, so that the foods that cause outbreaks are identified quickly, and illnesses can be prevented. Farmers, the food industry, regulatory agencies, food service, consumers, and public health authorities all have a role to play in food safety.

What are some recent efforts to reduce foodborne illness? 

  • Establishment in 2011 of performance standards for Campylobacter contamination of whole broiler chickens in processing plants.
  • Approval of more stringent time and temperature controls for oysters after harvest to prevent Vibrio vulnificus infections.
  • The Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011: It gives FDA additional authority to regulate food facilities, establish standards for safe produce, recall contaminated foods, oversee imported foods, and which requires improvements in surveillance and response to outbreaks. It calls on CDC to strengthen surveillance and outbreak response.

USDA-FSIS' new strategies to address Salmonella contamination in meat and poultry: Salmonella Action Plan.

What are some next steps to reduce foodborne illness?

There are many partners in prevention of foodborne illness, including state and federal public health authorities, the federal food regulatory authorities, the food industry, consumer and patient advocacy groups, and consumers themselves.
Enhanced measures are needed to:


Learn More

February - April 2014: Spotlight on Global Health Security

Food, Water, & Air Connect Us Globally

Globe graphic

"We are all connected by the food we eat, the water we drink, and the air we breathe. Stopping outbreaks where they start is the most effective and the least costly way to save lives." ~ Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Experts from CDC and across the world gathered (March 17-20) on the agency's main Atlanta campus to discuss global health security. CDC’s Center for Global Health, host of the meeting, “Prevent, Detect, and Respond: Leveraging CDC's Global Health Programs and Overseas Offices for a Safer US and a Safer World,” underscored that global health security was a CDC priority. 

"counties are safer if they have the capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to common pathogens, which better prepares them for the uncommon ones"

a mutual theme shared by presenters at the 2014 Global Health Security meeting

Throughout the four-day meeting, experts discussed how concentrated efforts between CDC and its country partners could rapidly build and enhance capacities to prevent, rapidly detect, and effectively respond to infectious disease threats. By building and strengthening laboratory networks, information systems, and emergency operations centers, CDC and its partners showed how global health security can be accelerated.

Presenters discussed many examples of global food and water security projects at CDC, including:

  • Republic of Georgia: site visits and focused training workshops to build capacity for laboratory based surveillance for foodborne pathogen detection.
  • Uganda: implementation of rapid diagnostic testing for cholera.
  • Kenya: staff training on a new multiplex bead assay system for serologic antibody surveillance at Kenya Medical Research Institute.
  • Haiti: water quality survey of private water vendors in Port au Prince.

To learn more:


CDC tracked multiple multistate outbreaks of foodborne illness during February-April, including:   

Multistate Outbreak of Multidrug-Resistant Salmonella Heidelberg Infections Linked to Foster Farms Brand Chicken  

  • As of March 3, CDC received reports of 481 ill people,  including 51 new cases since the last update on January 16.
  • Cases appeared to return to baseline in January; however, ongoing surveillance identified in February that infections from two of the previously rare outbreak strains have again exceeded the number of infections expected to be reported to PulseNet during this time of year.
  • This investigation continues.

Multistate Outbreak of Listeriosis Linked to Roos Foods Dairy Products

  • As of March 12, Maryland (seven) and California (one) reported eight cases, including one death. Five of the illnesses (two mother-newborn pairs and a newborn) were related to pregnancy
  • Roos Foods issued an expanded and clarified recall on March 1. The US Food and Drug Administration suspended the food facility registration of Roos Foods on March 11.
  • Media outlets covering the story include CBS News*, Food Poisoning Journal*, the Oregonian* and Food Quality News.

Detect and Protect against Antibiotic Resistance

CDC’s Initiative will fight foodborne infection

It’s been called public health’s ticking time bomb. Antibiotic resistance—when bacteria don’t respond to the drugs designed to kill them—threatens to return us to the time when simple infections were often fatal. Today, antibiotic resistance annually causes more than two million illnesses and 23,000 deaths in the United States. Tomorrow, if it continues on its current course, could be even worse.

We need to outsmart antibiotic resistance—now. The Detect and Protect Against Antibiotic Resistance Initiative (known as the AR Initiative) gives us a good head start. The 2015 President’s Budget requests $30 million annual funding level for 5 years for the AR Initiative—part of a broader CDC strategy to target investment to achieve measureable results in four core areas:

  • Detect and track patterns of antibiotic resistance.
  • Respond to outbreaks involving antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
  • Prevent infections from occurring and resistant bacteria from spreading.
  • Discover new antibiotics and new diagnostic tests for resistant bacteria.
AR initiative food infographic cover

With a $30 million annual funding level over 5 years, CDC’s AR Initiative could achieve a 25-50% reduction in infections from nightmare bacteria that sicken or kill.

To learn more:


Select CDC food safety publications during February - April, including:

Poultry and Food Safety

Antibiotic Resistance



Scientist takes bacterial cells from an agar plate

Select food safety resources and news about CDC's partners

  • Mapping genes to uncover food poisoning. Whole genome sequencing is the ultimate DNA fingerprint. Food safety experts broaden their arsenal for decoding the DNA of potentially deadly bacteria and viruses, reports the Associated Press.
  • Everybody’s blogging! Did you know that FDA has its own blog?  Last week Dr. Stephen Ostroff, former deputy director of the National Center for Infectious Diseases discussed his new position as Acting Chief Scientist at FDA and you can read his first blog.
  • Need guidance? The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) released it’s second set of food policy guides showcasing cross-sector partnerships.


  • Age matters in the raw milk revolution:  Washington Post reports that, despite warnings from public health officials, distrust of government and a thirst for raw milk have helped fuel the movement to do away with federal and state restrictions. CDC and FDA officials say 55 percent of the victims are younger than 18 and got the beverage from a parent or guardian. “When you give it to a young child who gets an E.coli infection, and their kidneys fail, they didn’t get to make that choice,” said Robert V. Tauxe, the CDC’s deputy director of food-borne, water-borne and environmental diseases.
  • Rough, rugged, and raw. Food Safety News reports raw-milk cow-share bill falls flat on the House floor.
  • Barfblog - it's not as gross as it sounds. It's a blog where Drs. Powell, Chapman, Hubbell, and assorted food safety friends offer evidence-based opinions on current food safety issues. 

Packaging Science

Update following the release of An Atlas of Salmonella in the United States, 1968-2011, CDC's hands-on, web accessible document providing 40 years of surveillance data on 32 Salmonella serotypes.

The Atlas is not new; it’s been published twice before in book and CD-Rom. But, how far can bound copies of a book or CD travel? What’s new is getting Salmonella data at everyone’s fingertips—providing hands-on web access for the public, the food industry, and researchers. Did it work? Yes! Within hours of the CDC’s press release (and the March 2014 GovD Special Edition) announcing the Atlas, global media paid attention and spread the word. Overnight, the metrics had shifted to show that 90% of viewers were now from the general public see graphs below).

CDC has seen a hunger for our data from more than public health departments.Under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), CDC is tasked to make our data accessible, but access does not guarantee engagement. There is an art to distribution that goes beyond posting a PDF [PDF - 248 pages]—it means getting people to explore your science. We found that the 200-page PDF was intimidating. So, we broke it down and added context, an explanation about the Importance of Serotyping and other pages: Salmonella Atlas, 32 Individual Serotypes Reports, and Snapshots of Serotypes.

If you build it they will come. The take-away from this is simple: present solid research in a format to those who can most benefit from accessing it. Enough said.

PRNewswire Visibility Report

March 2014 Special Edition: Hands-On Access to Salmonella Data

New CDC Report: Hands-On Access to Salmonella Data

Salmonella Atlas cover page

40 Years and 32 Serotypes of Salmonella Data Available Online

Fighting Salmonella: More Understanding = More Progress

An Atlas of Salmonella in the United States, 1968-2011 [PDF - 248 pages] is the first-of-its-kind report that charts over 40 years of laboratory-confirmed surveillance data on 32 Salmonella serotypes. The report includes analyses by age, sex, season, and geography, down to the county level. This is the first time CDC has posted these data online in a downloadable format. (CDC published two earlier versions of the Atlas as books.)

Serotypes: groups in a single species of microorganisms, such as bacteria or viruses, which share distinctive surface structures

CDC estimates that Salmonella causes about 1.2 million illnesses each year in the United States, with about 23,000 hospitalizations and 450 deaths. Salmonella most often causes vomiting or diarrhea, sometimes severe. In rare cases, Salmonella can cause severe and life-threatening bloodstream infections. Read more about Salmonella.

"The more we understand Salmonella, the more we can make progress in fighting it all along the farm to table chain."

~Robert Tauxe, M.D., Deputy Director,
CDC's Division of Foodborne, Waterborne and Environmental Diseases

Medical illustration of non-typhoidal Salmonella

Salmonella causes a huge amount of illness and suffering each year in the United States. We hope these data allow researchers and others to assess what has happened and to think more about how we can reduce Salmonella infections in the future,” said Robert Tauxe, M.D., deputy director of CDC’s Division of Foodborne, Waterborne and Environmental Diseases. “The more we understand Salmonella, the more we can make progress in fighting it all along the farm to table chain.”

The Atlas allows users to explore

  • National Salmonella trends in reported cases over time.
  • Problems in specific geographic areas.
  • Sources of Salmonella.
  • The connection between animal and human health.

Importance of the Atlas

  • Permits comparison of different serotypes
  • Allows analysis of trends over time
  • Reports data from human, animal, and other environmental sources in one place

In addition to human infections, it also includes reports of Salmonella in animals in the environment and animal feeds, which can be sources of antibiotic resistant strains. Read more about the importance of the Atlas.
The data presented likely represent just the tip of the iceberg since many infections from Salmonella are not diagnosed and reported to the health department.
This may occur because

  • The ill person does not seek medical care.
  • The health care provider does not obtain a stool culture.
  • The culture results are not reported to public health officials.

Salmonella, Serotypes, and Serotyping

Public health scientists use serotyping to find Salmonella outbreaks and track them to their sources.

Salmonella has more than 2,500 different serotypes, but fewer than 100 cause the vast majority of infections in people. What we learn about the more common serotypes can increase our understanding of illness and the natural history of all the Salmonella strains. Read more about Salmonella and serotypes.

Since the 1960s, public health scientists in the US have used serotyping to help find Salmonella outbreaks and track them to their sources. Laboratory experts serotype the Salmonella from infected people. When cases with one serotype increase, they suspect an outbreak and disease detectives start their investigation.

One of Salmonella's Nastiest Serotypes:

Salmonella Outbreaks in Eggs graphic

Salmonella Enteritidis

Imagine a healthy looking, but infected, chicken that can lay eggs with contaminated yolk. Frightening, but true. Salmonella Enteritidis [PDF - 15 pages], one of the most common serotypes of Salmonella reported worldwide, is often linked to eggs. If a fertile egg is contaminated with Salmonella Enteritidis, it infects the new chick. If the egg is for eating, and someone eats the egg raw, or undercooked, that unlucky person may be infected with Salmonella Enteritidis.

Since the 1990s, infection rates have decreased as the egg industry voluntarily placed controls on egg flocks and consumers have eaten fewer raw eggs. Still, large outbreaks have occurred. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) enacted the Egg Rule in 2010 to control Salmonella on egg farms; they also established safe handling and labeling requirements for shell eggs.

Learn more surprising facts about Enteriditis and four other Salmonella serotypes.

Learn how to reduce the risks of a Salmonella infection from eggs.

January - February 2014: CDC and Medscape-Content Delivery Partners

CDC and Medscape: A Partnership that Delivers

Hedgehog, baby chick, and duckling

Healthcare content delivered to 100,000+ viewers

Launched during 2009’s H1N1 flu pandemic, Medscape and CDC teamed to deliver timely information and education to medical professionals using the Internet. Since then, their partnership has blossomed. CDC Expert Commentaries attracts thousands of clinician views with each new weekly posting. 
What started with one "test" video commentary has blossomed into a robust content partnership that now includes: video commentaries, text commentaries, Q&A expert interviews, slide shows, targeted mailers, one-on-one interviews, and peer-to-peer discussions.
To date, CDC and Medscape have partnered to produce:

  • 170+ video and text commentaries
  • 1.8 million views of interviews
  • 100,000+ views of slideshows

The CDC Expert Commentary series includes participants from every CDC Center as well as CDC partners: Dr. Regina Benjamin, US Surgeon General, HHS; Dr. Neil Fishman, SHEA; and Dr. William Schaffner, IDSA.

Medscape commentaries for CDC's Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases comprise almost one-third of total Medscape views and include content from all Divison topic areas: food safety, healthy water, fungus, and healthy pets and people. 

CDC's enteric disease experts provide food-related commentaries on topics ranging from specific pathogens to major outbreaks, as well as tips for Healthy Pets, Healthy People. The table below highlights select food-safety commentaries from 2012 to the present. More food safety commentaries will be produced during 2014.

Select CDC Food Safety Publications

Key CDC publications during January-February include:

Public Health Measures: Surveillance of Foodborne Diseases. Encyclopedia of Food Safety cover

Surveillance of Foodborne Diseases

Food safety experts, Dr. Rob Tauxe and Dr. John Besser, examine the limitations, uses, and future of surveillance in public health for the Encyclopedia of Food Safety, Volume 4.


After receiving reports of gastrointestinal illness from attendees at a church festival, the local health department investigated and confirmed a foodborne outbreak linked to pulled pork prepared in a private home and sold at the event.

Salmonella enterica serotype Typhimurium

In this study, the authors examined whether the characterization of blaCMY plasmids, along with additional information, can help to identify potential sources of infection by Salmonella, and used serotype Typhimurium as a model.

Non-O157 STEC

Two publications document outbreaks and infections of non-O157 Shiga toxin-producing Esherichia coli.


CDC tracked several multistate outbreaks of foodborne illness during January and February, including:

Outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg Infections Linked to Tyson Brand Mechanically-Separated Chicken at a Correctional Facility (ongoing investigation)  

As of January 24, Tennessee reported nine cases to CDC.  Tyson Brand initiated a recall of approximately 33,840 pounds of mechanically-separated chicken products, the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced. This outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg infections is not related to the multistate outbreak of multidrug-resistant Salmonella Heidelberg infections linked to Foster Farms brand chicken.

Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Stanley Infections Linked to Raw Cashew Cheese (outbreak appears to be over) 

As of January 31, California (15), Nevada (1), and Wyoming (1) reported17 illnesses to CDC. The Cultured Kitchen, producers of the raw cashew cheese, issued a voluntarily recall due to a risk of contamination with Salmonella.

Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg Infections Linked to Foster Farms Brand Chicken  (outbreak appears to be over; however, investigation continues)

The number of reported infections from the outbreak strains of Salmonella Heidelberg has returned to baseline levels indicating that this particular outbreak appears to be over. But, not before 23 states and Puerto Rico reported 430 illnesses to CDC. California reported the most illnesses (74%).

New Web Resources

Year-Round Food Safe Buffets

PEW SuperBug Showdown infographic: Blow the whistle on antibiotic overuse!

Every year, Americans have a food fest on Super Bowl Sunday. And, for many, that means hosting a buffet for friends and family. But any gathering at any time of the year can be an opportunity to share food--and, unfortunately, food poisoning, Make sure that germs are a "no-show" at your next buffet by following these six tips to avoid food poisoning. (Download our infographic [PDF - 1 page] for your kitchen as a reminder of preparing food-safe buffets.)

  • Shout-out to our partners at Pew Charitable Trust for their Superbug Showdown infographic pitting Team Antibiotic against Team Superbug. And, a nod of the hat to FDA for their feature on Serving up Safe Buffets. Check them both out!

Public Health Practices

CDC has released the 2013 Prevention Status Reports (PSRs) highlighting the status of state-level policies and practices designed to prevent 10 important public health problems, including Food Safety.

Assisting the Disease Detectives

Did you know you can help disease detectives detect and solve foodborne disease outbreaks? Learn some ways you can help protect others from getting sick. You Can Help CDC Detect and Solve Foodborne Outbreaks.

We Are Better Prepared!

The National Snapshot of Public Health Preparedness cover

The Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) reports several success stories that highlight states' preparedness.

Prepared by CDC's Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response, the National Snapshot of Public Health Preparedness covers activities between 2012 and 2013 and notes improvements for tracking and reporting E.coli and Listeria.

  • Escherichia coli-positive tests analyzed and entered into PulseNet increased within four working days from 90% to 94%.
  • More timely testing and reporting of Listeria-positive results from 88% to 92%.

The complete report and individual sections of the report are available for downloading as separate PDF files.

Medscape Update to Pets and Pet Food Slideshow.

An update is now available to the Risks from Pets and Pet Food slideshow featuring information on outbreak investigations in 2012 and 2013.

Food Safety Partners

Trans Fats: Moving off the Label

Trans Fats: Moving Off the Label Webcast
Tue, Feb 11, 2014 2:00 PM CST

Join for a webcast that will break down the confusion about trans fats with straight talk and humor from four food system professionals who love to talk about food.

Progress toward Attribution of Foodborne Illness

The Interagency Food Safety Analytics Collaboration (IFSAC) recently held its second webinar to discuss progress toward attributing foodborne illnesses to food sources. The tri-agency collaboration (FDA, CDC, and USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service) also discussed the group's most recent activities.

Presenters shared an analysis comparing the characteristics of illnesses associated with foodborne outbreaks with those that are not linked to outbreaks.

Information on the first webinar is now available online. Information on the second webinar will be posted soon.

Listeria & Advanced Molecular Detection Work: One of CDC's 2013 Accomplishments

Digital Press Kit highlighting 2013 accomplishments, including work on Listeria & Advanced Molecular Detection, has been updated with details about our important collaboration with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Center for Biotechnology Information.

Coordinating Crisis Response: FDA’s Joint Information Center (JIC) Handbook [PDF - 298 pages] is now available. The handbook, that augments the FDA Emergency Operations Plan (EOP), enhances the agency’s ability to coordinate public communication during emergency responses.

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