7/14/2009 3:45:00 PM

Poultry Top Source Of Food Poisoning
Source of Article:  http://www.cattlenetwork.com/Content.asp?ContentID=330272


Poultry was the leading cause of food poisoning in the U.S. in 2006, according to a report released in June by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).   Poultry accounted for 21% of all outbreak-associated cases of illness, while leafy vegetables made up 17% of cases and fruits and nuts comprised 16%. According to the CDC, 48 states reported a total of 1,270 foodborne disease outbreaks in 2006; Norovirus and Salmonella were the leading causes of outbreaks. 

Most of the poultry-related illnesses, the CDC found, were associated with Clostridium perfringens, largely due to a 741-person outbreak at a prison in Alabama caused by baked chicken.

Attributing food poisoning to specific food types based on outbreak data is problematic, said John Maurer, PhD, associate professor in the Center for Food Safety’s Department of Avian Medicine at the University of Georgia, who was not involved with the report. “If you look at outbreaks, there are so many things that go into it—not just the food involved. There are breakdowns in sanitation and hygiene, improper refrigeration, or something technical where the food wasn’t brought to the appropriate temperature.”

But the report clearly underscores the need for greater progress in reducing food poisoning outbreaks, Dr. Maurer said. “We’ve been pretty good at keeping the levels of Salmonella on the carcasses low, well below what the U.S. Department of Agriculture sets as tolerable. Yet we’re still having outbreaks, so it’s clear that we desperately need to identify other indicators outside of culturing some of these specific pathogens.”

“The Food Safety and Inspection Service is trying to come up with better indicators for loss of process control and reliable attribution efforts,” Dr. Maurer added.

The full CDC report, “Surveillance for Foodborne Disease Outbreaks – United States, 2006” appears in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (June 12, 2009), available online at www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5822a1.htm.




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