Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network, or FoodNet, 2018 Report
The Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet) reports preliminary data reviewing the annual incidences and trends in foodborne illness. In the 2018 report, FoodNet reported to the CDC data for infections caused by Campylobacter, Cyclospora, Listeria, Salmonella, Escherichia coli (STEC), Shigella, Vibrio, and Yersinia.
The Key Findings of the Report:
- FoodNet identified 25,606 cases of infection, 5,893 hospitalizations, and 120 deaths
- At 19.5 percent of all FoodNet’s identified foodborne infections last year, most incidences of infection were caused by Campylobacter.
o Salmonella caused 18.3 percent
o Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) caused 5.9 percent
o Shigella caused 4.9
- There was a significant increase in incidences of Cyclospora, Shigella, Yersinia, STEC, Campylobacter, and Salmonella.
Incidences of infections from Campylobacter are one the rise, for FoodNet identifies infections from Campylobacter most frequently. Symptoms include diarrhea (which could be bloody) and could lead to a rare autoimmune disease called Guillain-Barré syndrome. A new study by the FSIS, there was isolated Campylobacter from “18% of chicken carcasses and 16% of chicken parts sampled” (USDA). Raw eggs and chicken are still the primary sources of Salmonella enteritidis infections.
In 2018, raw produce was a significant source of foodborne illnesses. For example, there were two multistate outbreaks of STEC O157 contaminated romaine lettuce in 2018. The FDA is working determining the best method to prevent contaminated lettuce from entering the market and facilitating outbreak investigations.
Although last year’s increase in identified infections may seem like 2018 was a subpar year for food safety, laboratory testing is drastically improving results and traceability. Methods like culture-independent diagnostic tests are more effective than ever at identifying pathogens. Reporting systems are becoming more efficient at collecting data, so the bottom line is there are still too many incidences of infections from foodborne pathogens, but food processing techniques are continually striving to improve the safety of food products.
US Department of Agriculture. Constituent update special alert. August 27, 2018. FSIS to implement enrichment method to detect Campylobacter in all raw poultry samples. Washington, DC: US Department of Agriculture; 2018. https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/newsroom/meetings/newsletters/constituent-updates/archive/2018/ConstUpdate082718External. Accessed 19 February 2019.