NO PROGRESS IN REDUCING FOODBORNE ILLNESS
Over the past few years, Americans have grown accustomed to seeing headlines about tainted food being recalled and pulled off store shelves. These high-profile recalls leave many Americans wondering whether enough is being done to reduce the risk of contaminated food and foodborne illness. And they are right to do so—48 million people get sick from eating tainted food each year, and despite significant costs to our economy and Americans’ public health, the number of such illnesses, particularly from Salmonella, has remained stagnant for at least 5 years.1
More needs to be done to protect Americans from the risk of unsafe food. But important rules, standards, and inspections that could significantly improve food safety have been blocked, underfunded, or delayed, allowing the drumbeat of disease outbreaks to continue.
According to recall information compiled by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS), from October 2012 to October 2013 there were:
- 1,494 foodborne Illnesses linked to recalls of food products;
- 335 hospitalizations due to recalled food products;
- 2 deaths linked to recalls of food products;
- 615 incidences of Salmonella linked to recalls of food products; and
- 643 incidences of Cyclospora linked to recalls of food products.
This report offers a snapshot look, from October 2012 to October 2013, at multistate foodborne illness outbreaks identified by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Failures in the rules and processes that protect our food supply have led to numerous serious outbreaks over the past year that left many Americans sickened and at least 2 dead. The economic cost of just the multistate outbreaks caused by food products recalled over the past 12 months comes to more than $22 million.