May 17, 2013
1 min read

Food preparation errors to blame in many foodborne illnesses

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Food processing and preparation errors were to blame in most foodborne outbreaks between 1998 and 2008, according to data published online.

Officials with the CDC’s Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases recently published in Clinical Infectious Diseases a paper that looked at the 1,229 outbreaks during a 10-year period caused by three common causes of foodborne illness: Bacillus cereus, Clostridium perfringens and Staphylococcus aureus.

The researchers reported some common features among the illnesses, notably that vomiting was noted in many B. cereus and S. aureus outbreaks, but less common among patients who had confirmed C. perfringens.

The CDC report highlighted that 93% of the illnesses were associated with food processing and preparation problems, and “contamination by a food worker was only common in S. aureus outbreaks (55%).”

The researchers of the paper offered some advice for reducing the number of foodborne illnesses, specifically “devising measures that reduce contamination at the source of food production, during food processing, preparation and handling, through cross-contamination in the food processing and preparation environment, and during transportation from the location of food preparation to the location of consumption.”

An estimated 9.4 million foodborne illnesses caused by a known pathogen occur each year in the United States, according to the researchers.

Disclosure: Bennett reports no relevant financial disclosures.