Salmonella remains biggest foodborne threat to Americans: CDC

13:46, June 08, 2011      

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Salmonella, not E. coli, poses the greatest health threat to Americans, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on Tuesday.

Salmonella infections have risen 10 percent over the past 15 years, while several types of foodborne illness have been falling, the agency said in a report.

Infections from Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157 (the strain of most concern in the United States) have dropped almost in half and the rates of six other foodborne infections have been cut 23 percent, the CDC said.

The agency issued the report as a deadly new strain of E.coli is spreading in several European countries.

"There are about 50 million people each year who become sick from food in the U.S.. That's about one in six Americans," CDC director Dr. Thomas R. Frieden said.

The CDC attributed the reduction in infections from E. coli O157 to better detection and investigation of outbreaks, cleaner slaughterhouse methods, better testing of ground beef for E. coli, improved inspections of ground beef processing plants, regulations prohibiting E. coli O157 in ground beef and increased awareness of the importance of properly cooking beef.

Other foodborne illnesses that fell in incidence over the same time period include those caused by the campylobacter, listeria, vibrio and yersinia pathogens.

To reduce their risk of foodborne illness, people should assume that raw chicken and other meat have bacteria that can make you sick, the CDC said.

In the kitchen, raw meats should not allow to contaminate counter tops or cutting boards and should be kept away from other foods, such as fruits and vegetables, the CDC advised.

The agency also called on people to thoroughly cook meat, poultry, eggs and shellfish, while refraining from consuming unpasteurized milk, juice or soft cheese.

Source: Xinhua
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