CDC and Food Safety Newsletter

Updated September 24, 2021

CDC Report on Foodborne Disease Trends Shows Marked Declines During COVID-19 Pandemic

Reported infections from pathogens transmitted commonly through food decreased markedly in the United States in 2020, according to a preliminary report from the Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet).*

FoodNet tracks the number of reported cases per 100,000 people, called incidence, for eight pathogens. Overall incidence of infections caused by these pathogens fell by 26%, the largest single-year change during 25 years of FoodNet surveillance. Reported incidence decreased for almost all pathogens. Campylobacter and Salmonella remain the most commonly reported infections.

Public health measures intended to slow the spread of COVID-19 likely contributed to this decline. Stay-at-home orders, international travel restrictions, and other changes to daily life might have influenced exposure to foodborne pathogens. Other factors, such as changes in healthcare-seeking behaviors, might have limited detection of infections.

Continued surveillance is needed to understand how the COVID-19 pandemic affected behaviors related to food and to healthcare-seeking. Understanding these effects could help us identify prevention measures and strategies for targeting particular pathogens and foods.

*FoodNet is a collaboration among CDC, 10 state health departments, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). FoodNet monitors 10 sites covering 15% of the U.S. population, conducting surveillance for infections caused by Campylobacter, Cyclospora, Listeria, Salmonella, Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, Shigella, Vibrio, and Yersinia.

Kick Off Your Game Day Spread With Food Safety

Chicken wings, chips, and other foods on a typical game day food tray.

Planning a game day spread? Score a food safety touchdown by following the four steps to food safety. CDC’s Game Day Food Safety Tips, also in Spanish, provides tips on how to avoid food poisoning so your household can have a memorable game day meal. The feature also includes a recipe for fresh salsa.

Food Safety Education Month

Food Safety Education Month banner

Join us in continuing to promote Food Safety Education Month throughout September. It’s a great time to freshen up on food safety and educate others about preventing food poisoning. Visit CDC’s food safety website to find tips to prevent food poisoning, social media messages, social media graphics, and food safety videos.