AMIF Urges CDC to Update Foodborne Illness StatisticsFriday, September 10, 2010
(American Meat Institute)
The American Meat Institute Foundation (AMIF) is strongly urging the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to revise decade-old foodborne illness statistics which are widely referenced by public health officials, regulatory agencies and congressional staff when discussing foodborne illnesses.
“In order to improve food safety and further
reduce the risk of foodborne illness, it is
absolutely critical to have the most accurate
estimation of foodborne disease as the cause of
illness, hospitalizations and deaths,” said
AMIF Director of Scientific Affairs
Data from the Mead et al. “Food-Related Illness and Death in the Untied States” report, published in 1999, estimates 76 million cases of illness, 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths per year are attributed to the consumption of food products. However, the recently released CDC analysis of reported illnesses in the U.S. for 2008 indicated approximately 100,000 illnesses for the same food-related notifiable diseases. These discrepancies may be caused by the fact that the 1999 estimates were derived using adjustments for underreporting of foodborne illnesses, which are likely no longer valid given the changes in public health reporting over the past two decades. These 11-year old estimates also virtually ignore the newer, more accurate and specific methods of detecting microorganisms and the vast progress made by the food industry in improving the safety of their products over the last decade.
AMI and the Foundation have been eagerly awaiting the update to the Mead et al. report, which has been in preparation since before 2007.
Booren also reinforced how accurate and
timelier foodborne illness attribution data is
critically needed to improve the safety of the
“AMI Foundation recognizes the challenges of accurately estimating the burden of foodborne disease and accurately attributing these burdens to food types, but these metrics are essential. The last decade has shown the important role cooperation and communication between public health officials, regulators, the food industry and other allied stakeholders has had on improving food safety. This collaborative story of success could be affirmed through the update of the Mead et al. estimation of the burden of foodborne disease,” Booren concludes.
To view a copy of AMIF’s letter
in its entirety, click here: