Food Safety Report: No Great Gains
According to the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Food Safety Report Card for 2013, the overall number of cases of foodborne illness last year was basically the same as the number reported in 2006. This, despite the fact that there was significant improvement in the number of salmonella infections. The fact that there has been no overall progress in knocking in these types of infections troubles officials at the CDC.
The statistics are compiled from 10 different sites that make up the Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network, commonly known as FoodNet. They show a reported total of 19,056 infections resulting in 4,200 hospitalizations and 80 deaths, all of which are above the goals established by the CDC. Unfortunately, the stats in the Report Card don’t offer a breakdown as to the types of foods that led to the infections.
The CDC finds the lack of recent progress toward their goals to be troubling, and blames major deficiencies in the current food safety regimen, as well as the need for a greater number of inspections, interventions and targeted prevention initiatives. They note that almost all foodborne illnesses are preventable, and the fact that they have had success in decreasing instances of contamination of a number of foods and reducing some types of illness means it’s possible to practically wipe out many of these illnesses.
Instances of Salmonella were down 9 percent between 2012 and 2013, and cases of Listeria contamination were also down 3 percent. Unfortunately, contamination by many other pathogens were on the increase. For example, Campylobacter cases were up 2 percent, E. coli 0157 cases were up 16 percent, while E. coli non-0157 cases were up 8 percent; Yersinia cases were up 7 percent; and Vibrio cases were up 32%.
The CDC also noted in the press release that accompanied the release of the report card that they are making significant progress when it comes to implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act, having already released seven proposed rules intended to address the safety of produce, human and animal food production, food transportation and imported foods. They hope that, when these rules and others are implemented, the number of infections will be greatly reduced. This Report Card simply points up the importance of expanding greater preventive measures at every point, from farm to table.
Federal and state regulators must do more to keep the food supply safe for all of us, and meat producers should not be allowed to contaminate the food supply. The Texas Food Poisoning Lawyers at Hill Law Firm have extensive experience dealing with these types of cases. If you or a loved one has become ill or died as a result of eating contaminated food, please contact the Texas Food Poisoning Injury Lawyers at Hill Law Firm as soon as you can, to make sure your rights are protected.