Comparing foodborne illness rates between countries can be misleading because of differences in methodology and data sources, according to a study.

Foodborne illness estimation models are country-specific, making international comparisons problematic. Some disparities in estimated rates can be attributed to variations in methodology rather than real differences in risk, said scientists.

Researchers looked at foodborne disease estimates for the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and the United States. Findings were published in the journal BMJ Open Gastroenterology.

Published illness rates in the UK were lower than elsewhere. However, when adjusted to a more like-for-like approach to the other countries, differences

Continue Reading ‘Misleading’ to compare countries’ foodborne illness data, say experts

A public-private consortium has been created to investigate the potential food safety and quality issues posed by microbial contaminants in plant-based food products.

Partners in the project will look at microbes that are common in plant-based ingredients, their ability to survive processing, and the risk of growth and toxin production in foods containing such ingredients.

The aim is to help reduce food waste and ensure food safety, by filling knowledge gaps, generating better predictive models for assessing microbial risk and identifying critical control points.

Research organizations NIZO food research, Wageningen University & Research, and HAS Green Academy are working with

Continue Reading Consortium to study contaminants in plant-based foods

Researchers have used data on the weather and Campylobacter on farms in Norway to see if it could help with outbreak surveillance.

Models showed statistically significant relationships, matching the hypothesis that weather patterns and the presence of Campylobacter on broiler farms are associated with modest rises in the illness consultation burden in Norwegian municipalities. Sharing of data and model results with health authorities could improve potential outbreak response, said scientists.

The model shows that greater numbers of broiler flocks testing positive for Campylobacter at a 2-week lag is associated with slight increases in risk for an outbreak in people.

Poultry products are

Continue Reading A model shows how Campylobacter surveillance could be improved

Modelling of Campylobacter in Sweden has indicated a 2-week time lag between human cases and broiler prevalence.

This suggests that the broiler prevalence two weeks earlier can partly explain domestic Campylobacter infections with transmission via handling and consumption of fresh chicken meat. 

However, there is no simple relationship between prevalence in chickens bred for meat and patients. Additional factors also need to be evaluated to understand the transmission routes and epidemiology of campylobacteriosis, said the study published in the International Journal of Food Microbiology.

The research explored the relationship between the proportion of Campylobacter positive broiler batches and the number of reported domestic human

Continue Reading Study looks at link between Campylobacter in animals and humans

Officials in Switzerland have been unable to find what was behind an increase in hepatitis E infections that affected more than 100 people in 2021.

The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) recorded a rise in cases of hepatitis E virus (HEV) between January and May 2021.

A total of 105 cases were reported across the country, which is almost triple the number compared to the same period in previous years. More men than women were affected and patients ranged in age from 18 to 87 years old. A total of 29 people were hospitalized with or following an HEV
Continue Reading Source of rise in Swiss hepatitis E cases remains a mystery; pork investigated

A mathematical model has been developed by scientists in Denmark to control the risk from Clostridium botulinum in certain foods.

The tool could be used in development or reformulation of fresh and lightly preserved seafood and poultry products that do not support the growth of Clostridium botulinum. Botulism poisoning is a serious but rare illness caused by toxins produced by Clostridium botulinum bacteria.

Researchers at the National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark developed and evaluated the model for non-proteolytic Clostridium botulinum to predict the effect of temperature, salt/water activity (aw), pH, acetic, benzoic, citric, lactic and sorbic acids on
Continue Reading Researchers develop botulism prediction model

Researchers have modeled and estimated cross-contamination in consumer kitchens during a European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) program.

The model was used to work out the impact of cross-contamination routes for different scenarios. Effectiveness of several interventions in reducing the risk of foodborne diseases related to cross-contamination was investigated.

Results found the cutting board route had a higher impact compared to other sources and replacement of kitchen utensils is more effective than other interventions studied.

The project in EFSA’s food risk assessment fellowship program (EU‐FORA) provided new modelling and data on cross-contamination for quantitative microbiological risk assessment (QMRA). This can help
Continue Reading Scientists in EFSA program look at cross-contamination in the home

A Dutch university has called on food industry partners for a project aiming to develop preservation strategies against Listeria monocytogenes.

The project will support the sector by developing hurdle strategies for the pathogen and design models to describe the combined additive, multiplicative and synergistic effects of their combinations. This should enable manufacturers to maximize product shelf life and ensure food safety more efficiently.

Wageningen Food and Biobased Research reported the project is planned to start at the beginning of 2021 and run until the end of 2023.

Challenge testing for Listeria monocytogenes is time consuming and costly. Predictive modelling can
Continue Reading Wageningen calls for Listeria project partners

Results of a risk assessment in Finland show those preparing and handling food may play a critical role in the incidence of listeriosis.

The stage after retail, including food handling and storage by the consumer or professional kitchens, is essential to protect against Listeria infections, according to the study published in the International Journal of Food Microbiology.

To investigate listeriosis risk, an exposure assessment was developed, and laboratory results for cold smoked and salt-cured salmon products were used. Listeria monocytogenes exposure was modeled for elderly consumers aged 65 to 74 as a risk group and working population aged 25
Continue Reading Finnish researchers investigate Listeria risk

Domestic beef and imported turkey cause the most Salmonella infections in Finland, according to results from a statistical model developed by the Finnish Food Authority (Ruokavirasto).

Potential origins of foodborne Salmonella infections in consumers were assessed based on information from between 2008 and 2015. During this time, the annual number of cases halved from about 3,000. Infections acquired in Finland varied from 300 to 400 cases.

Food categories studied included chicken and turkey meat, beef and pork. Finnish and imported meat were examined as separate categories, according to the study published in the Risk Analysis journal.

The domestic beef and
Continue Reading Beef and turkey cause majority of Salmonella cases in Finland