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Food Safety News

Breaking news for everyone's consumption


Could Funding Cuts to Food Safety Programs Make You Sick?



(This blog post by Michelle Forman was published July 23, 2014, at APHL’s LabLog and is reposted here with permission.) When public health works, no one sees it. That’s a common adage at APHL and is most frequently used when referring to the gross lack of — and ever-plummeting — funding for valuable public health programs…. Continue Reading

Outbreak Case Counts: Why Official Numbers Fall Far Below Estimates


When news broke this past fall of two separate Salmonella outbreaks tied to Foster Farms chicken, one of the most noteworthy aspects of each outbreak was the number of patients sickened. To date, the outbreaks have been connected to 615 reported Salmonella infections altogether, making Foster Farms chicken the largest known source of foodborne Salmonella… Continue Reading

Final Report: 22 Sickened in Bay Area Burma Superstar E. Coli Outbreak


A total of 22 people in San Francisco fell ill in August in an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak linked to Burma Superstar, a restaurant in the Richmond neighborhood, according to an outbreak report released Monday by the San Francisco Department of Public Health. The department first received eight reports of E. coli illness between Aug…. Continue Reading

Social Media Apps Use Twitter to Track Illness Outbreaks


The opportunity to use social media platforms to report and track foodborne illnesses is becoming increasingly feasible as more and more people use social media to discuss the ins and outs of daily life. In April, a few volunteer developers in Chicago launched an app called Foodborne Chicago, which aims to facilitate a connection between… Continue Reading

Tracking Down the Source of Outbreaks: It’s Complicated

Meet CORE, FDA's team of food safety sleuths


At an FDA lab in Denver, Microbiologist Melissa Nucci preps for testing peanut butter samples for Salmonella. Photo courtesy of FDA’s flickr. With a globalized food supply brought to us by increasingly complex supply chains, foodborne illness outbreaks are notoriously tough to solve. These outbreaks often involve multiple states and dozens of illnesses, which are… Continue Reading

Publisher’s Platform: It is Past Time to Step Up on Foodborne Illness Surveillance

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Cyclospora outbreak going on since June 1 and we do not know the source. Did you hear the joke about the two doctors and a trial lawyer? I am sure there might be something funny here if it were not that part of the story involves 321 sick with Cyclospora in 15 states and me… Continue Reading

Cyclospora Outbreak Highlights Differing Epidemiology Philosophies


As state and federal officials continue working to pinpoint the source of the June Cyclospora outbreak that sickened at least 275 people in the Midwest, one prominent epidemiologist has criticized the investigation’s speed and effectiveness. Given the relatively large number of people sickened, the outbreak should have been solved “weeks ago,” according to Dr. Michael… Continue Reading

Public Health: Are We Too Slow?



This article was co-authored by Dr. Kathleen Vidoloff, Emergency Risk Communication Officer for Oregon Public Health Division, and Dr. Jean O’Connor, former Oregon Deputy Public Health Director. One of the many roles of public health is to protect consumers from threats like foodborne outbreaks. Much of this hinges on quickly getting out clear messages to… Continue Reading

Hawaii E. coli Outbreak Offers Lesson on Challenges of Epidemiology


More than a month after the Hawaii State Department of Health announced an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 on the island of Oahu, epidemiologists at the agency say they still hope to determine the source of the outbreak, though they acknowledge the likelihood grows slimmer as time goes on. But ending an outbreak investigation without… Continue Reading

CDC Launches iPad App Game for Playing Outbreak Detective


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has launched a “Solve the Outbreak”  iPad app that lets people play disease outbreak investigator, as if they were in the agency’s Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS). According to CDC, which announced the app this week, the program allows users to navigate three fictional outbreaks based on real-life events…. Continue Reading