CIDTs make infections “more visible” but it makes it harder for officials to monitor trends in food-borne illnesses because “the changes in the number of new infections could reflect changes in testing practices rather than a true increase in infections.” Therefore, comparing trends in 2016 data with data from previous years might be inaccurate. The CDC shared that FoodNet is already working on a solution for a way to continue to accurately track “needed progress toward” cutting down on these infections through the development of new tools.
Overall, although advancements have been made when it comes to diagnosis and response to these outbreaks, the true way to “win” this battle, lies in stronger prevention strategies.
“We are making progress in detecting and responding more quickly to food-borne illness, but our priority remains preventing illnesses from happening in the first place,” Susan Mayne, PhD, FACE, director of FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, shared in the press release. “The final rules we are implementing under the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act
focus on prevention, and we will continue to work closely with other government agencies at the local, state, and federal levels, as well as our tribal and territorial partners, to support industry compliance with the new requirements.”
Steps are already being taken towards better food-borne illness prevention. The new performance standards for cutting down on the “harmful bacteria in chicken parts and ground poultry” coming from the US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service is one such example of the progress being made. In fact, these actions are estimated to result in the prevention of a whopping 50,000 illnesses caused by Salmonella
from contaminated chicken or turkey products each year.
The American public wants to know that the food they is consuming is safe and that it won’t make them ill. Arguably, the American food supply is one of the safest in the world and with this new data from the CDC and new advancements being made every day, we are one step closer to ensuring it stays that way.
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