New Food Safety Data for 2013
What are we doing?
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 also highlight 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 discover new and risky foods.
Robert Tauxe, M.D., M.P.H, deputy director of CDC’s Division of Foodborne, Waterborne and Environmental Diseases, Biography [PDF - 1 page]
Limited progress in reducing foodborne infections
The nation’s food report card says more can be done.
The nation’s food safety grades are out and the results are mixed. Today’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report includes CDC’s annual food safety report card, which shows that foodborne infections continue to be an important public health problem in the United States (US). The Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network, or FoodNet, tracks nine infections transmitted commonly through food. For 2013, FoodNet identified just over 19,000 infections, 4,200 hospitalizations, and 80 deaths among 48 million residents of 10 states, or about 15% of the total US population.
Highlights of the report include a comparison of rates in the short [PDF - 1 page] and long term. For the short term, we compared 2013 with the rates of the preceding three years, 2010-2012 [PDF - 1 page]. 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.
- The rate of Salmonella infections decreased by about nine percent in 2013 compared with the previous three years. When compared to the longer term 2006-2008 baseline period, rates remain the same, which is well above the national goal for 2020 of 11.4 cases per 100,000 people.
- Campylobacter infections, often linked to contaminated chicken, have risen 13 percent since 2006-2008.
- Vibrio infections, often linked to eating raw shellfish, were at the highest level observed since active tracking began in 1996; however, 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; however, the 2013 rate of E. coli infections remains about 30 percent lower than the 1996-1998 baseline period.
- Rates of the other foodborne infections tracked have not changed.
- The incidence of infection caused by nearly all pathogens tracked was highest among either children aged <5 years or among older adults aged ≥65 years.
Graphics / Images
Vibrio lives naturally in seawater and foodborne Vibrio infection is most often linked to eating raw oysters. It is rare, but can cause serious, life-threatening infection, especially in people with liver disease.
Detect and protect against antibiotic resistance: CDC's initiative will fight foodborne infections.
CDC’s Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States, 2013 highlights our concern with drug-resistant non-typhoid Salmonella. Every year, 100,000 patients get drug-resistant infection. The President’s FY15 budget increase CDC’s ability to test drug-resistant Salmonella by 20 times. More
Technical illustration of Campylobacter.
Campylobacter is associated with eating raw or undercooked poultry, raw milk dairy products, contaminated produce and drinking contaminated water.
Each year, roughly one in six Americans gets sick with a foodborne illness. To protect yourself and your family, follow the simple steps of clean, separate, cook and chill.
This year's food safety report card shows limited progress in reducing foodborne illness. In 2013, the rate of Salmonella infections decreased by about nine percent compared with the previous three years, bringing it to the rate observed in the 2006-2008 baseline period, of 15 cases per 100,000 people.
What's up? What's down? Changes in incidence of laboratory-confirmed bacterial infections, US, 2013.
- Press Release: CDC data show limited progress in reducing foodborne infections in 2013, Press Briefing Transcript, Audio recording [MP3 - 8.07MB]
- MMWR: Home | Incidence and Trends of Infection with Pathogens | MMWR ebook [PDF - 5 pages]
- New infographics:
- FoodNet website
- Detect and Protect Against Antibiotic Resistance