Despite continuing technological advancements, preventing products from becoming contaminated with pathogens remains a challenge in the food industry. To monitor foodborne illness, the Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet) actively conducts surveillance of laboratory-diagnosed infections caused by pathogens commonly transmitted through food sources.

FoodNet is a partnership between the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, 10 state health departments and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It monitors infections due to: Campylobacter, Cryptosporidium, Cyclospora, Listeria, Salmonella, STEC, Shigella, Vibrio and Yersinia. To gather the data, outbreaks are monitored at 10 sites throughout the country that account for approximately 15% of the U.S. population. In 2016, FoodNet tracked outbreaks for an estimated 49 million people. The preliminary 2017 FoodNet surveillance data shows that foodborne illness continues to be a considerable health burden despite ongoing food safety measures. Below are three key questions raised by examining the 2017 FoodNet data: Continue Reading

As consumers begin to pay closer attention to their health and wellness, they are also increasing their interest in the source and composition of the food they are eating. This can be seen in the 2008 book, by Michael Pollan, “In Defense of Food,” which offers several suggestions for healthy eating. One of the key rules informs readers, “don’t eat anything with more than five ingredients, or ingredients you can’t pronounce and your grandmother wouldn’t recognize.” Accordingly, a focus on short, simpler ingredient lists has become a major component of the trend known as clean label. Continue Reading