The Centers for Disease Control on Thursday issued an update on the prevalence of foodborne illness in the U.S., finding that the rate of salmonella infections declined 9% in 2013, while campylobacter infections rose 13%.
The data for the update come from the Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet), a group of experts from CDC, ten state health departments, the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
In 2013, FoodNet logged just over 19,000 infections, 4,200 hospitalizations, and 80 deaths from the nine germs it tracks. Young children were the most affected group for seven of the nine germs that FoodNet tracks.
"This year's data show some recent progress in reducing salmonella rates, and also highlight that our work to reduce the burden of foodborne illness is far from over," said Robert Tauxe, deputy director of CDC's Division of Foodborne, Waterborne and Environmental Diseases. "To keep salmonella on the decline, we need to work with the food industry and our federal, state and local partners to implement strong actions to control known risks and to detect foodborne germs lurking in unsuspected foods."
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New standards for cut-up poultry parts and plans to modernize poultry inspection are already in the works, CDC said.
Regulations to prevent food safety problems have been proposed for many sectors of the food industry, including produce farms, food facilities, food importers, food transporters, and third-party auditors.
Some of the efforts to improve safety are the Salmonella Action Plan and Food Safety Modernization Act.
"We are making significant progress in implementing the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, having issued seven proposed rules addressing the safety of produce, imported foods, and human and animal food production and transportation. Full implementation of these rules will help prevent these types of infections," said Stephen Ostroff, M.D., the FDA's acting chief scientist.
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"The latest information from FoodNet highlights the importance of continuing preventive measures from the farm to the consumer," he said.
CDC recommends cooking meat to proper temperatures, washing produce, and preparing meat and fresh produce on different surfaces.
Consumers should know there are risks to consuming unpasteurized milk, soft cheeses made with unpasteurized milk, and raw oysters, especially for certain populations at risk for foodborne illness, CDC said.