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Food Safety News

Breaking news for everyone's consumption


Don’t Forget the Epidemiology: Unraveling a Five-Year Listeria Outbreak


It’s not every day that you see an outbreak of foodborne illness spanning five years. But that’s what happened with a Listeria outbreak first announced 10 days ago by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Just last month, it was whole-genome sequencing that connected together the 24 illnesses reaching back to 2010. But good… Continue Reading

Oregon Outbreak Museum Memorializes What We’ve Learned About Foodborne Illness


When revolutionary epidemiologist William Keene started working for the Oregon Public Health Division in 1990, he also started collecting packaging from recalled products, restaurant menus, and other elements from his outbreak investigations and displaying them in his office. “These exhibits commemorate why we do these investigations and the kind of products and things that can… Continue Reading

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