The U.S. FDA, the CDC, and the USDA’s FSIS have developed a method for analyzing outbreak data to determine which foods are responsible for illness related to four major foodborne bacteria. A report on the new method, titled “Foodborne Illness Source Attribution Estimates for Salmonella, Escherichia coli O157 (E. coli O157), Listeria monocytogenes (Lm), and Campylobacter using Outbreak Surveillance Data,” was produced by the Interagency Food Safety Analytics Collaboration (IFSAC)—a partnership of the three agencies. The report finds that more than 80% of E. coli O157 illnesses were attributed to beef and vegetable row crops, such as leafy vegetables. It also finds that Salmonella illnesses were broadly attributed across food commodities, with 77% of illnesses related to seeded vegetables (such as tomatoes), eggs, fruits, chicken, beef, sprouts, and pork. The agencies anticipate that IFSAC’s work will enhance their efforts to prevent foodborne illness. The new estimates, combined with other data, may shape priorities and support the development of regulations and performance standards and measures, among other activities.
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