The U.S. Center for Disease Control Prevention (CDC) released its most recent summary of foodborne illness outbreaks in the United States. The reports found that 818 foodborne outbreaks were reported in the US in 2013, which is consistent with the 800-850 outbreaks reported in past years.
The number of reported outbreaks has actually declined in the last 10-15 years. Determining weather the prevalence of foodborne illness has actually decreased or fewer outbreaks have been reported and recorded is hard to define.
“CDC estimates that foodborne illness sickens about 48 million people in the U.S. each year, resulting in 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths. Some 30 percent of the population — young children, the elderly, and pregnant women and their expected children — are especially susceptible to foodborne pathogens such as Salmonella, E. coli and Listeria.” –Food Safety News
Budget cuts in public health departments have resulted in less cases being detected and investigated. What can we do as consumers to protect ourselves and our loved ones from foodborne illness? Become educated with general and ongoing food safety issues, and most importantly, stay informed! Sites like Food Safety News and CDC.gov are great resources for ongoing notifications and warnings that could affect you.