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New Food Safety Data for 2012

FoodNet report shows increases in some foodborne germs, no change in others

Each year, roughly 1 in 6 people in the US gets sick from eating contaminated food. To understand trends in what germs are making people sick, CDC analyzes data from FoodNet, a surveillance system in 10 sites covering about 15 percent of the U.S. population. By targeting the germs that are making people sick with regulations and changes in industry practices, the country’s food supply can be made safer for everyone.

  • In 2012, Campylobacter infections increased 14 percent and Vibrio infections increased 43 percent compared with a baseline period of 2006-2008.
  • Rates of a dangerous type of E. coli, Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) O157, which had previously been decreasing, returned to levels similar to those seen in 2006-2008.
  • Rates of the other pathogens tracked in FoodNet have not changed significantly compared with the 2006-2008 rates.

To protect yourself from these and other foodborne germs, clean hands and surfaces well, separate raw meats from produce and other fresh foods, cook meat to the proper temperature and refrigerate leftovers quickly. To prevent Campylobacter and Vibrio infections, make sure chicken and other meats are well cooked, avoid consuming unpasteurized milk and unpasteurized soft cheese, and make sure shellfish are cooked for safety before eating.

For more information on preventing food poisoning, visit FoodSafety.gov, CDC's food safety page, and Fight Bac!.

Graphics / Images

  • Oysters

    Vibrio lives naturally in sea water 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.

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  • Family Meal

    Each year, roughly one in six Americans get sick with a foodborne illness. To protect yourself and your family, follow the simple steps of clean, separate, cook and chill.

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  • Grocery Basket

    Campylobacter is associated with eating raw or undercooked poultry, raw milk dairy products, contaminated produce and contaminated water.

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  • Electron Microscope image

    Vibrio electron microscope image

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  • Campylobacter Electron Microscope image

    Campylobacter as seen through an electron microscope.

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  • Infographic

    This year’s food safety report card shows that some germs spread commonly through food have increased while others have not changed.

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  • Food poisoning incidence chart

    “Relative rates of laboratory-confirmed infections with Campylobacter, STEC* O157, Listeria, Salmonella, and Vibrio compared with 1996–1998 rates, by year — Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network, United States, 1996–2012”

    This is a description for image 1

Contact Information

CDC Media Relations
(404) 639-3286
media@cdc.gov

Spokesperson

Robert V. Tauxe, MD, MPH

Biography

Robert V. Tauxe, MD, MPH

Foodborne illness touches each of us. It can happen anywhere, to anyone, and from foods we might not expect.  Just by following some simple steps, you can drastically reduce their risk of getting sick from the food you eat. When you cook, wash your hands and surfaces often, separate raw meats from produce, cook meats well, and refrigerate leftovers quickly.

Robert V. Tauxe, MD, MPH - Deputy Director, Division of Foodborne, Waterborne and Environmental Diseases, NCEZID

Additional Quotes

Olga Henao, PhD

FoodNet data shows us if foodborne infections are increasing or decreasing. This allows us to gauge whether food safety regulations and changes in the food industry are working. It also tells us when and where improvements may be needed to continue to protect people from foodborne disease.

Olga Henao, PhD - FoodNet Team Lead, CDC Division of Foodborne, Waterborne and Environmental Diseases

Beth Bell, MD, MPH

FoodNet is a powerful collaboration among CDC, 10 state health departments, the USDA, and the FDA. For the past 16 years, partners in food safety have looked to FoodNet to reliably show problems—and progress—in decreasing foodborne illness.

Beth Bell, MD, MPH - Director of CDC’s National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases

Patricia Griffin, MD

Every year, FoodNet provides the nation’s ‘report card’ for foodborne illnesses. FoodNet data is used to to track trends in many important causes of foodborne illness. CDC uses FoodNet data to estimate the burden of foodborne illnesses in the United States.

Patricia Griffin, MD - Chief of CDC’s Enteric Diseases Epidemiology Branch

 
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