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These CDC Features and related stories give consumers information they need to protect themselves and their families from illnesses that can come from germs in food, water, and other places. They also highlight CDC's role in detecting and responding to outbreaks, tracking trends in illnesses, and providing important health and safety information to the public.

Food Safety

Foods and Germs

BBQ ribs and chicken on grillSalmonella and Chicken: What You Should Know and What You Can Do

Autumn is a popular season for sporting events, and whether you are tailgating or channel surving, chances are that barbeque chicken and spicy wings will make an appearance. Learn how to protect yourself from Salmonella.

Recipes for Disaster Bacteria BBQ screen shotRecipes for Disaster: Keep Safe from Food Poisoning

Do you know how to protect you and your family from food poisoning when preparing food? Learn how to reduce your risk.

Woman selling fruits and vegetablesWhen Food Bites Back: Protecting Those at Risk for Listeria Food Poisoning

Sometimes foods we love and count on for good health are contaminated with germs that cause illness and can be deadly for certain people.

Woman selling fruits and vegetablesTest Your Produce Safety Savvy

Do you have the know-how to make good produce safety choices? Take the quiz below to test your knowledge on selecting, storing, and preparing produce.

Woman selling fruits and vegetablesGlobal Networks Make Food Safer

Foodborne diseases are preventable, yet common causes of illness, disability, and death worldwide. Find out how CDC and global partners are equipping countries with tools and training to make food safer.

Photo: young girl cutting fruit on cutting boardBe Food Safe

Most people do not think about food safety until they or someone they know becomes infected with foodborne illness. People usually become infected with foodborne illness when they eat a contaminated food item.

Photo: Father and Son with glasses of milkRaw (Unpasteurized) Milk

Raw milk can carry harmful germs that can make you very sick or kill you. If you're thinking about drinking raw milk because you believe it has health benefits, consider other options.

Photo: E. Coli under microscopeE. coli Infection

Although most strains of E. coli are harmless, others can make you sick. Learn about E. coli and what you can do to help lower the risk of infection.

Photo: Complete Guide to Home CanningHome Canning and Botulism

Home canning is an excellent way to preserve garden produce and share it with family and friends, but it can be risky or even deadly if not done correctly and safely.

Photo: Child making peanut butter sandwichSalmonella is a Sneaky Germ: Seven Tips for Safer Eating

Salmonella can contaminate more than poultry and eggs. It sneaks its way into many foods— ground beef, pork, tomatoes, sprouts—even peanut butter. Learn what you can do to make your food safer to eat.

 Women breaking eggs in a bowlSalmonella in Eggs: An Unwelcome Summer Visitor

Eggs and summer go together: deviled eggs, homemade ice cream, and potato salad. But, just a few hours outside of the refrigerator and your eggs can create lasting memories that you'd rather forget. This summer, make sure that eggs carrying Salmonella don't come to your next outing.

Hands holding four eggsTips to Reduce Your Risk of Salmonella from Eggs

Eggs are one of nature's most nutritious and economical foods. However, they also carry a significant risk of carrying Salmonella if not handled or cooked correctly. Learn how to reduce the risks of a Salmonella infection from eggs.

Hand holding soap barPrevent the Spread of Norovirus

Noroviruses spread easily, causing more than 20 million gastroenteritis cases each year in the U.S. There's no vaccine to prevent norovirus infection and no drug to treat it. Wash your hands often and follow simple tips to stay virus-free.

Mother and children holding cooked turkeyTips to Prevent Illness from Clostridium Perfringens

Clostridium perfringens (C. perfringens) is one of the most common causes of food poisoning in the United States. Learn more on ways to prevent illness from this germ.

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Seasons, Holidays, and Events

Photo: Football Official making personal foul signalSuper Bowl Food Safety

Before you tuck into wings, dips, salsa, and other finger food goodies, get to know the MVPs (most valuable practices) that will keep you and your Super Bowl fans cheering. Serving salsa on game day? Try the recipe below and remember to keep it chilled.

Women spaying insect repelantSpring and Summer Outdoor Safety

Nothing says summer like the smoky flavor of foods cooked out on the grill. When grilling, use meat thermometer, avoid cross-contamination, and keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot.

Photo: Two Men HikingSummertime Safety

The return of warmer temperatures brings thoughts of freedom, relaxation, exploration, and being closer to nature. Whether you're relaxing in the backyard, turning up your garden, enjoying the pool, or exploring the great outdoors, here are some ways to help keep you and your family healthy this spring and summer.

couple sitting on couch sharing mealCupid is Coming! Tips for a Romantic – and Safe – Valentine's Dinner

Whether you're dining out or staying in for Valentine's Day, follow these tips for a romantic and safe Valentine's dinner.

Image of Cooked TurkeyIt's Turkey Time: Safely Prepare Your Holiday Meal

Whether you're a seasoned chef or a novice preparing your first holiday meal, be aware of safety issues when thawing, preparing, stuffing and cooking your turkey.

Candles burningTwelve Healthy and Safe Tips for the Holidays

Pay special attention to your health and be safe this holiday season. Tips # 1 and 11 give helpful information on how to practice handwashing and food preparation during the holiday season.

Child riding horse on mary-go-roundFood Safety at Fairs and Festivals

A fun summer activity is attending fairs, festivals, carnivals, and rodeos. Follow these tips to have safe cooking, eating, and drinking experiences at those events.

Family Having PicnicTips for a Safe and Healthy Family Reunion

Family reunions are a time to introduce and reinforce healthy living. If you are planning or participating in a family reunion, read more on how to make sure your family reunion is safe and healthy.

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Pregnant Women and Infants

Photo: A slice of cheese and a bottle of milkPrevent Infections in Pregnancy

Proper food preparation and frequent handwashing help pregnant mothers reduce their risk of infection during pregnancy. Read below to find out more on how to keep you and your new baby safe.

Pregnant Lady and teddy bearProtect Your Unborn Baby or Newborn from Infections

If you're pregnant or planning a pregnancy, there are simple steps you can take to protect your unborn baby or newborn from infections that cause serious health problems. Read more on how to protect you and your newborn from infection.

Pregnant lady in red shirt holding stomachHoliday Food Safety During Pregnancy

Learn how to keep you and your unborn baby healthy this holiday season by being food safe.

Photo: Father bottle feeding sonCronobacter Illness and Infant Formula

In infants, Cronobacter infection can cause a very rare, but serious illness. Learn what you can do to help lower the risk of infection from powdered infant formula.

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Outbreaks of Foodborne Illness

Girls eating burritosNew CDC Data on Foodborne Disease Outbreaks

Outbreaks provide important insights into how germs spread, which food and germ combinations cause illnesses, and how to prevent infections. Public health and industry use outbreak data to create information on prevention, education, and policy.

Graphic: Food Production ChainTracking and Reporting Foodborne Disease Outbreaks

Eating or drinking a contaminated food or beverage can cause a foodborne illness. A foodborne disease outbreak occurs when two or more people get the same illness from the same contaminated food or drink. Learn more about CDC's surveillance for foodborne disease outbreaks from 2009-2010.

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.Foodborne Disease Outbreaks are Deadly Serious – What You Can Do to Avoid Them

Many outbreaks result from food being contaminated when it is being prepared or served by a food worker with unwashed or improperly washed hands. Scientific evidence shows that preventing illness begins with the basics. Wash your hands thoroughly, with soap, before and after handling food. It can prevent illness and even death.

Chart:  Isolates Reported to PulseNet USA, 1996-2011PulseNet and Foodborne Disease Outbreak Detection

PulseNet connects similar cases of foodborne illness together, quickly finding outbreaks, and linking these illnesses across states and countries. Read more about PulseNet's research and latest findings.

image of a hazelnut plantPulseNet at Work: Detecting Hazardous Hazelnuts

Foodborne disease detection is complicated. In 2010, PulseNet's bacteria detection and identification system helped to identify a strain of E. coli in small batches of hazlenuts. Read more about the PulseNet's team response to bacterial contamination in a newly-identified vehicle.

Figure 1: Outbreaks of Acute Gastroenteritis, 30 States, January 2007 through April 2010 (larger view)Surveillance for Norovirus Outbreaks

Noroviruses spread when people have contact with infected people, consume contaminated food or water, and touch contaminated objects or surfaces. Outbreaks occur often and can happen to people of all ages in a variety of settings.

basket of cateloupe fruitsDeadly Listeria Outbreak Halted in Record Time

The September 2011 Listeria outbreak, which was linked to a single cantaloupe farm in Colorado, is a textbook example of how investments in coordinated public health response can save lives.

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Data and Statistics

Incidence of Foodborne Illness, 2013

The nation’s food safety grades are out and the results are mixed. CDC’s annual report shows that foodborne infections continue to be an important public health problem in the United States.

Fruit on tableFoodCORE: Enhancing foodborne disease outbreak response

FoodCORE is a program supported by CDC that helps states detect and respond to multistate foodborne disease outbreaks.

Graphic: Figure 1. Changes in incidence of laboratory-confirmed bacterial infections, United States, 2012 compared with 2006–2008.Incidence of Foodborne Illness, 2012

Data from FoodNet, which monitors 15% of the US population, provide the best measure of trends in foodborne disease in the United States. See the trends for foodborne illness through 2012

Chart: Chart: Changes in Incidence of laboratory-confirmed bacterial infections, US, 2011Incidence of Foodborne Illness, 2011

Tracking important foodborne infections and investigating outbreaks helps identify food safety gaps and influences new laws and regulations to reduce contamination of food. See the trends for foodborne illness through 2011

Chart: Top pathogens contributing to domestically acquired foodborne illnesses and deaths, 2000 to 2008. Norovirus: Illnesses 58%; Deaths 11%. Salmonella, nontyphoidal: Illnesses: 11%; Deaths 28%. Clostridium perfringens: Illnesses: 10%. Campylobacter spp.: Illnesses: 9%; Deaths 6%. Staphylococcus aureus: Illnesses: 3%. Toxoplasma gondii: Deaths: 24%. Listeria monocytogenes: Deaths: 19%..2011 Estimates of Foodborne Illness in the United States

CDC estimates that each year roughly 1 in 6 Americans (or 48 million people) gets sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die of foodborne diseases. The 2011 estimates provide the most accurate picture yet of which foodborne bacteria, viruses, microbes ("pathogens") are causing the most illnesses in the United States.

Chart: Percent changes in incidence of selected foodborne infections, U.S., 2010* (compared with 1996-1998). Data are preliminary. STEC (Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli) O157: 44% decrease; Salmonella: 3% increase; Listeria: 38% decrease; Campylobacter: 27% decrease.Incidence of Foodborne Illness, 2010

Whether during the warm summer months or preparing for the winter holidays, food safety is vital all year round. Read about 2010 foodborne illness incidence detection by the FoodNet surveillance team.

Graphic: Food Production ChainTracking and Reporting Foodborne Disease Outbreaks

Eating or drinking a contaminated food or beverage can cause a foodborne illness. A foodborne disease outbreak occurs when two or more people get the same illness from the same contaminated food or drink. Learn more about CDC's surveillance for foodborne disease outbreaks from 2009-2010.

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.Foodborne Disease Outbreaks are Deadly Serious – What You Can Do to Avoid Them

Many outbreaks result from food being contaminated when it is being prepared or served by a food worker with unwashed or improperly washed hands. Scientific evidence shows that preventing illness begins with the basics. Wash your hands thoroughly, with soap, before and after handling food. It can prevent illness and even death.

Chart:  Isolates Reported to PulseNet USA, 1996-2011PulseNet and Foodborne Disease Outbreak Detection

PulseNet connects similar cases of foodborne illness together, quickly finding outbreaks, and linking these illnesses across states and countries. Read more about PulseNet's research and latest findings.

Figure 1: Outbreaks of Acute Gastroenteritis, 30 States, January 2007 through April 2010 (larger view)Surveillance for Norovirus Outbreaks

Noroviruses spread when people have contact with infected people, consume contaminated food or water, and touch contaminated objects or surfaces. Outbreaks occur often and can happen to people of all ages in a variety of settings.

image of gavel and justice scaleHave You Heard? Facts From The Field: Foodborne Outbreaks

Have You Heard? Facts From The Field is a weekly feature from the Office for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support to provide CDC and the field with facts and news from state, tribal, local and territorial public health agencies. We invite you to read and share this information broadly.

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Environmental Health

Photo: Chef with ManagerFood Safety Differences Between Restaurants Linked and Not Linked to Outbreaks

This study described how restaurant traits (for example, number of meals served), policies, and practices were linked to foodborne illness outbreaks and to infected food workers as the cause of outbreaks.

Two couples diningBeliefs That Restaurant Meals Made People Sick

People need to know more so they can be protected from foodborne illness. But first, we need to know what people know and believe about foodborne illness.

couple at table  reviewing recordsBeef Grinding Records Kept by Retail Stores

Contaminated ground beef at retail stores like grocery stores can cause foodborne illness outbreaks. To stop further illness and outbreaks, we need to find the source of any ground beef that causes outbreaks.

Photo: pot in ovenFactors Affecting Safe Food Preparation by Food Workers and Managers

Studies have shown that food workers often do not handle food safely. To improve worker practices, we need to know the factors that affect those practices.

Photo: food worker prepping meat for cookingFood Worker Handwashing and Food Preparation

Proper handwashing can reduce germs on workers' hands. It can also reduce the spread of germs from hands to food and from food to other people.

Photo: person washing handsFood Worker Handwashing and Restaurant Factors

The spread of germs from the hands of food workers to food is an important cause of foodborne illness outbreaks in restaurants. It accounts for 89% of outbreaks in which food was contaminated by food workers.

Photo: batch of tomatoesHow Restaurants Handle Tomatoes

Researchers have suggested that how restaurant workers handle tomatoes may lead to germ growth on tomatoes. To prevent foodborne illness caused by tainted tomatoes, we must find out how workers handle tomatoes.

Photo: eggs being cracked in a bowlHow Restaurants Prepare Eggs

It is important to collect data that will describe restaurant practices for egg handling that pose foodborne illness risks. This can help us address these risky practices so we can prevent illnesses.

Photo: young waitress serving customerFood Workers Working When They Are Sick

Food eaten at restaurants sometimes makes people sick because food workers handled the food when they were sick with vomiting or diarrhea.

Photo: lady checking food temperatureHow Environmental Health Specialists Investigate Outbreaks

Knowing the contributing factors to foodborne illness outbreaks is critical to stopping them. Environmental health specialists find contributing factors by investigating outbreaks.

Photo: Two chefs prepping foodKitchen Manager Certification Study and Food Safety

Certified kitchen managers (CKMs) have passed a test to show knowledge of food safety. It is believed that CKMs are better able to control factors that can lead to foodborne illness.

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Healthy Water

Handwashing

Photo: China School Children washing handsGlobal Handwashing Day

Global Handwashing Day is a way to support a global and local culture of handwashing with soap, shine a spotlight on the state of handwashing in each country, and raise awareness about the benefits of handwashing with soap.

Lady pouring hand sanitizerWash Your Hands

Keeping hands clean is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of infection and illness.

Screen capture: Hand HygieneHand Hygiene Saves Lives

Keeping hands clean is one of the most important ways to prevent the spread of infection and illness.

Photo: Three candles burningTwelve Healthy and Safe Tips for the Holidays

Pay special attention to your health and be safe this holiday season. Tips # 1 and 11 give helpful information on how to practice handwashing and food preparation during the holiday season.

image of a glass of milk and cheesePrevent Infections in Pregnancy

Proper food preparation and frequent handwashing help pregnant mothers reduce their risk of infection during pregnancy. Read below to find out more on how to keep you and your new baby safe.

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Germs and Sickness

Photo: Balamuthia mandrillaris. Photo courtesy of DPDxBalamuthia mandrillaris ameba infection

Balamuthia mandrillaris is a free-living ameba (a single-celled organism) found in soil and dust. Exposure to Balamuthia is likely to be common because of how widespread it is in the environment. However, very few cases of disease in humans have been found worldwide since Balamuthia was discovered.

Photo: Father bottle feeding sonCronobacter Illness and Infant Formula

In infants, Cronobacter infection can cause a very rare, but serious illness. Learn what you can do to help lower the risk of infection from powdered infant formula.

Photo: Little Girl rubbing her eyePink Eye: Usually Mild and Easy to Treat

Pink, itchy eyes? Conjunctivitis – or pink eye – is common in adults and children. It sometimes needs medical treatment, depending on the cause. Know the symptoms, get treatment if needed, and prevent it from spreading.

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Healthy Swimming and Other Recreational Water Use

couple sitting on edge of swimming poolHealthy Swimming Year-Round

Stay healthy and avoid recreational water illnesses (RWIs) when you swim or use the hot tub by following some simple steps.

Young boy on pool edgeRecreational Water Illness and Injury Prevention Week

Having fun while you swim this summer means knowing how to prevent recreational water illnesses (RWIs) and injuries.

Swimmers in swim competitionAmanda Beard Swims Healthy

When Olympic champion and U.S. national title-holder Amanda Beard jumps into the pool as a professional athlete, her focus is on keeping herself healthy and at the top of her game. When she jumps into the pool as a mom, the most important thing is keeping her family healthy and safe.

Graphic: Recreational Water Illness Outbreaks, U.S. 1979-2008Recreational Water Illnesses (RWIs)

Avoid Recreational Water Illnesses! Don't swim when ill with diarrhea; don't get water in your mouth; practice good hygiene.

Photo: Two Men KayakingStay Safe While Boating

Wearing a life jacket can dramatically decrease your chances of drowning while boating. "Wear It!" every time you're on the water.

Photo: Group of people rafting down riverLeptospirosis Risk in Outdoor Activities

People who enjoy outdoor activities such as freshwater kayaking, rafting, canoeing or swimming may be at risk for leptospirosis. Learn how to help prevent infection and stay safe outdoors.

image of two people hikingSummertime Safety

The return of warmer temperatures brings thoughts of freedom, relaxation, exploration, and being closer to nature. Whether you're relaxing in the backyard, turning up your garden, enjoying the pool, or exploring the great outdoors, here are some ways to help keep you and your family healthy this spring and summer.

Photo: Father watching son catch a footballKeep Kids Safe and Healthy This Summer

It's summertime! Be extra vigilant to prevent injury and keep your kids safe and healthy this summer.

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Water-Related Emergencies

home in flood waterReturning Home After a Disaster: Be Healthy and Safe

Stay safe from hazards a storm may leave in your home. Read more about food and water hygiene safety after a disaster.

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Water-Related Observances

Water towerGround Water Awareness Week March 11 – 17, 2012

Much of the water we use comes from the ground. Learn more about ground water, the threats to its safety and how to protect your own ground water sources during Ground Water Awareness Week.

pond water streamLearn about World Water Day 2012

Learn about the 2012 World Water Day theme, "Water and Food Security: The World is Thirsty Because We are Hungry," which focuses on the close link between water use and food production.

lady holding glass of waterDrinking Water Week: Celebrate the Essential

Water is the foundation for life. Learn more about the vital role safe water plays in our lives and what CDC is doing to address challenges to our water supply.

children swimming in lakeRecreational Water Illness and Injury (RWII) Prevention Week

Having fun while you swim this summer means knowing how to prevent recreational water illnesses (RWIs) and injuries. Learn how to stay healthy and safe while enjoying the water!

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Pets and Other Animals

Household Pets

child feeding dogHealthy Pets Healthy People

There are many positive benefits of owning a pet; however, it's important to know that some animals may carry germs that can be spread to people and cause illness.

image of lizardReptiles, Amphibians and Salmonella

Did you know that reptiles and amphibians like turtles, lizards, and frogs can carry a harmful germ called Salmonella? If there are young children in your home, reptiles and amphibians might not be safe pets for your family.

dog laying with toySalmonella from Dry Pet Foods and Treats

Dry pet food and treats often contain germs, such as Salmonella. It is important to know how to properly handle, store, and behave when handling dry pet foods and treats to minimize the risk of becoming ill. Follow these tips to help prevent an infection with Salmonella from handling dry pet food and treats.

school children playing with pet hamsterAnimals in Schools and Daycares Settings

Animals can provide important opportunities for entertainment and learning. However, there is also a risk for getting sick or hurt from contact with animals, including those in school and daycare classrooms.

family holding hands in grass fieldSpring and Summer Outdoor Safety

While you're outside enjoying the weather, remember to protect your pets too. Keeping healthy pets will help keep you and your family healthy.

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Farms and Other Animals

Hunter holding shotgunHunters: Protect Yourself from Brucellosis

Some animals may put hunters at risk for brucellosis, a potentially deadly disease. Learn about simple safety tips that can help hunters prevent this illness.

Photo: Baby ChickenRisk of Human Salmonella Infections from Live Baby Poultry

Live baby poultry, such as chicks, ducklings, goslings, and baby turkeys, can carry harmful germs called Salmonella. After you touch a chick, duckling, or other baby bird, or anything in the area where they live and roam, WASH YOUR HANDS so you don't get sick!

chickens feedingKeeping Live Poultry

Live poultry, such as chickens, ducks, geese, and turkeys, often carry harmful germs called Salmonella. Learn more about how to reduce your risk of contracting Salmonella-related illness.

Photo: A young girl being lifted up to pet an Arctic FoxStay Healthy at Animal Exhibits this Summer

There are many ways to explore the animal world. Follow these tips to help you prevent illness when visiting animal exhibits this summer.

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Diseases and Conditions

Emerging Infectious Diseases

petri-dishes-86px.jpgFighting Emerging Infectious Diseases

CDC and its partners are on the front lines of efforts to identify, prevent, and control emerging infectious diseases. Learn more about CDC's important infectious disease work.

Valley Fever

Phoenix Dust StormTen Things to Know about Valley Fever

Valley fever is a fungal respiratory disease that can be devastating. Learning about valley fever can help you and your doctor recognize the symptoms early.

Man and woman sitting in chairs in woodsValley Fever: Working Toward a Solution

Increasing public awareness about the fungal illness Coccidiomycosis (Valley fever) brings key health leaders to Bakersfield, California.

Photo: Desert ValleyValley Fever: Awareness is Key

Coccidioidomycosis, also called valley fever, is an illness caused by a fungus that is common in some parts of the United States. Here's what you need to know about valley fever.

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