Only 2 or 3 percent of all Internet sales involve food and beverages, but with global online retail sales now topping $1 trillion annually, the numbers of edibles involved are growing large enough to cause some concern about the food safety of these sales. Writing in the current issue of Foodborne Pathogens and Disease, Taiwan researchers say online food sales raise a new issue for food safety. They point to online sandwich sales in July 2010 that caused a national outbreak of foodborne disease. And, in a survey of 886 of the online food consumers involved, they found that 36.6 percent became ill from consuming their purchases. The incubation period (time between consumption and the onset of symptoms) ranged from six to 66 hours, with a median of 18 hours. The online food consumers said they experienced diarrhea (88.2 percent); abdominal pain (69.8 percent); fever (47.5 percent); headache (32.7 percent), and vomiting (17.3 percent). They found microbiological laboratories isolated Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis, Salmonella Virchow, Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus cereus, and enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli from the contaminated sandwiches, Salmonella Enteritidis and Salmonella Virchow from the patients, and Salmonella Enteritidis and Staphylococcus aureus from food handlers. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) genotyping, sometimes called genetic fingerprinting, pointed to a common origin of Salmonella bacteria recovered from the patients, food, and a food handler. The pathogens detected and the symptoms and incubation period suggested that Salmonella, most likely of egg origin, was the probable causative agent of the outbreak. The research team says the incident points to the need for following strict hygienic practices during food preparation and the importance of temperature controls during shipment as the challenges of selling food on the Internet. Dr. Chien-Shun Chiou of the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control headed the research team that included Sung-Hsi Wei, Angela S. Huang, Ying-Shu Liao and Yu-Lun Liu. All are associated with Taiwan CDC. Wei is also with the Institute of Public Health at National Yang-Ming University in Taipei, and Chiou is also on staff at Chang Shan Medical University in Taichung.