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Foodborne Illness Outbreaks: U.S. Not Meeting CDC Goals To Reduce Salmonella, Listeria

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With the constant news reports about various food safety breaches, it's not really a surprise that the U.S. is falling short of 2010 goals to reduce instances of salmonella, listeria and campylobacter outbreaks. Such pathogens contribute to roughly 48 million illnesses per year according to government figures.

According to the Consumer Federation of America, illnesses from campylobacter, salmonella and listeria have increased as compared to the 2006 - 2008 period. While salmonella illnesses have decreased slightly to 16.47 cases per 100,000, these numbers still fall short of the Center for Disease Control's goals to reduce instances to 6.8 per 100,000. In sum, illnesses from these three pathogens have "remained relatively steady or increased from 2007 through 2011."

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently issued a report that stated that the FDA's food advisory and recall process needs strengthening. While the FDA has an internal procedure for issuing a recall, such a procedure is not yet public. The GAO claims that the "FDA may be missing opportunities to more comprehensively address its communications challenges." In short, there are too many screw ups. It's a failure of risk communication, explains the food safeyy site Barf Blog.

There's a little bit of good news though. There has been a reduction of outbreaks from one strain of e. coli.

The CDC is planning to use the 2010 goals as a metric, with further goals set for 2020. So, we'll see what happens in eight years. In the meantime, here's a list of open cases of food recalls.

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