Oct. 1, 2007 - Sep. 30, 2012Award Number
USDA - CSREESInvestigator
Melissa Newman, Ph.D.
University of Kentucky
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, 1999) reported new, more accurate estimates of foodborne illnesses that occur annually. An estimated 76 million cases of foodborne illness, 325,000 hospitalizations, and 5,000 deaths occur each year from food-borne microorganisms (Mead et al., 1999). The food safety surveillance system, FoodNet, indicates that more cases of food-borne illness occurred, but fewer deaths were caused by foodborne disease agents than previously reported. Campylobacter spp. was responsible for the most cases of foodborne illness. Salmonella (nontyphoidal) caused the most deaths; Listeria monocytogenes also causing a significant number of deaths. In summary, the report indicates that foodborne pathogens have a significant impact on human health and the food industry in the United States. In addition to human suffering, foodborne illnesses also have a substantial economic impact in the United States. The annual cost of foodborne illness in the U.S. is estimated at $5-$6 billion for loss of productivity and medical expenses (Marks and Roberts, 1993). The most costly food-borne illnesses are caused by Toxoplasma gondii, Salmonella spp., Campylobacter spp., and enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli. New methods to prevent, reduce or eliminate foodborne disease agents at all points of the food chain, from farm to fork , are needed to improve the safety of the food supply to prevent illnesses and deaths and to prevent economic losses to the food industry.