The below article was published on foodsafety.gov, a food safety website of the CDC.
The food safety messages within apply to people and pets.
FoodNet: Getting the Big Picture on Foodborne Disease, Posted April 19, 2010 |
By Dr. Olga L. Henao, epidemiologist
I work as an epidemiologist with CDC’s Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance
Network, otherwise known as FoodNet. My job is to study who gets sick and why and
share this information with groups and persons whose goal is to reduce the amount of
foodborne illness in the United States.
FoodNet is a collaborative project of the CDC, FDA, USDA, and 10 state health
departments across the United States. These 10 areas cover 46 million people, or
about 15 percent of the U.S. population.
We collect information on seven bacteria that cause foodborne illness, such as Salmonella and E. coli O157 as well as two parasites, Cryptosporidium and Cyclospora.
Last week, we released a report on the data that we collected and analyzed for 2009. Here are two key findings from our report, along with tips on how you can reduce your risk of illness:
First, we observed recent successes in fighting E. coli O157:H7. The rate of infection
with this dangerous kind of E. coli significantly decreased in 2009, reaching the lowest level since 2004. This type of E. coli is of particular concern because it can cause kidney failure. This infection is especially dangerous for children and the elderly. To help prevent infection with E. coli O157:H7, always cook ground beef and other meats to a safe temperature (use a meat thermometer to check) and avoid unpasteurized juices and milk.
Second, we also observed an increase in Vibrio infections. Vibrio is a type of bacteria
that can cause disease in people who eat contaminated seafood, usually raw or
undercooked oysters or other shellfish. We found that Vibrio infections increased by
85 percent over the past decade or so. While the overall number of these infections is
a small percentage of all foodborne illnesses, the infection can cause severe illness or
death, particularly in people with weakened immune systems. To prevent this type of
infection, avoid eating raw or undercooked shellfish.
Also, I encourage you to always follow the four food safety steps:
Clean: Wash hands, utensils, and cutting boards before and after contact with
raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs to avoid spreading bacteria when preparing food.
Separate: Use different cutting boards for meat, poultry, seafood, and
vegetables and keep raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs apart from foods
that won’t be cooked.
Cook: Use a food thermometer. You can’t tell if a food item is done by how it
Chill: Keep your refrigerator at 40 degrees or below to keep bacteria from
growing, and chill leftovers and takeout foods within 2 hours.
For more information about FoodNet, visit the CDC FoodNet site.
(originally posted at PetDocsOnCall, April, 2010)
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