Food-Borne Illnesses Decline in U.S. Reports

Apr 22, 2002

Incidents of E. coli, salmonella and other bacterial illnesses caused by food have declined 23 percent since 1996, according to preliminary data analyzed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The drop is credited to changes in the management of animal slaughter and processing, better agricultural practices
on farms, regulation of juices and food-safety education.

Although the agency’s monitoring of reports concerns 10 food-borne diseases in only nine states, Robert Tauxe, a specialist in such diseases at the center, says he expects the numbers to stand up. “We think they represent a real decrease in the actual number of these infections,” he says.

Moderator Comment: How safe is the meat and poultry supply in the U.S.? How can meat processing be made even safer?

The institution of the HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) system has made great strides in reducing salmonella and other
food-borne bacterial illnesses. The number of E. coli incident reports over
the past couple of years has been troubling, though.

BTW – If you missed it, check out the Frontline
“Modern Meat” report that appeared on PBS last week. Whether you think that
report is balanced probably comes down to your views on the subject to begin
with. You can check out the website at
Anderson – Moderator

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