New report shows dramatic spike in food poisoning rates
A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finds the rates of infections from some foodborne germs have spiked significantly since they were last measured. The CDC released their annual food safety report card last week.
Foodborne vibrio infections, usually tied with eating raw shellfish, were up 43 percent since compared to 2006-2008. Infections from the campylobacter bacteria which can be found in a number of foods including produce, cheese and poultry has risen up to 14 percent in 2012 since last measured.
“The U.S. food supply remains one of the safest in the world,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, in a news release. “However, some foodborne diseases continue to pose a challenge. We have the ability, through investments in emerging technologies, to identify outbreaks even more quickly and implement interventions even faster to protect people from the dangers posed by contaminated food.”
People stricken with campylobacter can experience diarrhea, stomach pain and fever that will usually subside in about a week, according to the CDC. Vibrio infections can be life-threatening, especially in people with liver disease.
The CDC estimates that about 48 million people get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die of foodborne diseases annually.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration proposed sweeping food safety rules. Among the new proposed precautions: making sure workers wash their hands, irrigation water is clean, and that animals stay out of fields. Food manufacturers must also submit food safety plans to the government to show they are keeping their operations clean.
Health experts at the CDC say easy steps can be taken to reduce the risk of getting sick. Their advice: It’s best to assume that raw poultry and meat are carrying bacteria and should be handled in a way to avoid cross-contamination with counter tops and other foods.
They also say cooking meats, poultry and seafood thoroughly is essential along with avoiding unpasteurized dairy products. The CDC also recommends that pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems avoid eating partially cooked or raw seafood.
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