Germany has reported an increase in outbreaks and people sick in them.
In 2022, the Robert Koch-Institut (RKI) and Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL) received slightly more reports of foodborne outbreaks than in the previous year, according to a recent report.
A total of 211 outbreaks were recorded. At least 1,488 illnesses, 268 hospitalizations, and eight deaths were linked to them. As in previous years, the most common causes were Campylobacter and Salmonella.
In 2021, RKI and BVL reported 168 outbreaks with 1,179 cases, 196 hospitalizations, and two deaths.
Ten Salmonella outbreaks
A total of 17 outbreaks met the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) criteria for outbreaks with high evidence in 2022. In these events, a connection between food and cases of illness was considered to be proven. The level of evidence came from the detection of the pathogen in food or its ingredients in 13 outbreaks.
Outbreaks with high evidence resulted in 255 illnesses, 63 hospitalizations, and two deaths. The largest was a norovirus outbreak with 50 cases. It occurred at a hotel and was linked to a turkey Piccata dish.
Ten were due to Salmonella, with 181 cases, 59 hospitalizations, and one death. They included four caused by Salmonella Typhimurium, two by Salmonella Enteritidis, and one by Salmonella Chester, Salmonella Durham, Salmonella Infantis, and Salmonella Mbandaka.
The second largest outbreak, with 40 Salmonella Chester infections, of which 15 people required hospital treatment, was linked to cut spring onions. Germany also recorded 31 cases and 11 hospitalizations in the Ferrero Kinder chocolate outbreak.
Staphylococcus aureus caused three outbreaks with 19 patients, while Listeria had two with three cases and one death. A couple of people were sick in a histamine outbreak.
Food products and causes
Four outbreaks were caused by pork and pork products, and three by vegetables and vegetables. Two each were linked to fish and fish products, meat and meat products, composite foods, and prepared meals. One outbreak each was caused by foods in the categories of cheese dairy products except cheese, confectionery, and chocolate.
Six outbreaks affected several federal states, and one was cross-border, including several European countries. Four occurred in private households, and three were linked to the catering sector. Contributing factors included infected employees, cross-contamination, non-compliance with storage conditions, and inadequate heat treatment.
In the 194 outbreaks with low evidence, at least 1,233 people became ill, 205 were hospitalized, and six died. In 23 outbreaks with 217 cases, the pathogen could not be identified.
Campylobacter caused 71 outbreaks with 163 cases. Five Listeria outbreaks had 14 cases and four deaths. Three STEC outbreaks had 30 patients, and three Bacillus cereus outbreaks affected 25 people. Other agents mentioned included Yersinia enterocolitica, Shigella, Cryptosporidium, and Hepatitis E virus.
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