Foodborne illness rates hold steady

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According to new federal data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, little progress has been made in recent years in preventing foodborne illness, despite enactment of new legislation that targeted the problem.

The latest figures released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that the rates of disease associated with salmonella, vibrio, campylobacter, and listeria remained steady or increased from 2007 through 2011. The only pathogen that showed a decrease in foodborne illness in the same time frame was a strain of E. coli.

Consumer advocates expressed frustration that the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act, which empowers the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to prevent foodborne illnesses, has not been implemented.  The FDA has not met deadlines for releasing draft rules necessary to give effect to key provisions of the law.  One key provision requires that food imported from other countries meet the same safety standards as domestically-produced food.

Erik Olson, director at the Pew Health Group stated: “Everyone was hoping that this new food-safety law would be in place and we’d start seeing improvements by now. What these CDC numbers show is that, unless new protections are put into place, millions of Americans are going to continue to get sick from contaminated food.”

Source: The Washington Post, “Food-borne illnesses not diminishing, CDC finds,” Dina ElBoghdady, July 28, 2012.

For more information, contact the Ohio foodborne illness attorneys at Clark, Perdue & List.