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CDC Report Shows Food Safety Concerns Continue

By David Goguen on April 10, 2009 7:06 AM

A food safety report released Thursday by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that rates of common foodborne illness cases haven't changed much over the last three years. The numbers show that while cases of foodborne illness have declined significantly since monitoring began in 1996, most of the drop-off occurred before 2004, according to a CDC Press Release announcing the data.

The CDC's report comes at a time when lawmakers and health officials are focused on food safety, with recent high profile salmonella contaminations causing the recall of hundreds of products containing peanut butter and pistachio nuts.

According to the CDC, "the incidence of Salmonella infections has remained between 14 and 16 cases per 100,000 persons since the first years of surveillance." But a New York Times article sees the numbers a little differently, noting that the CDC's figures for 2008 "translates into about 48,000 serious illnesses," while "[i]n 2005, the figure was 14 people per 100,000 -- or about 42,000 cases of laboratory-confirmed salmonella infections."

Earlier this week, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reminded consumers that the list of recalled pistachio products continues to grow -- 250 products and counting -- as the agency's investigation tries to pinpoint the source of salmonella contamination.

And in January, a nationwide outbreak of salmonella linked to peanut butter sickened over 400 people in at least 43 states, with hundreds of peanut and peanut butter products recalled.

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