The Interagency Food Safety Analytics Collaboration (IFSAC), a partnership created in 2011 between the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a new report in late February that uses new data to document which foodborne illnesses come from which foods.

ifsac-gears-300pxThe IFSAC held a meeting on February 24th to share the results of the new report for improving data and developing methods to estimate foodborne illness source attribution as it pertains to four pathogens: Salmonella, E. Coli 0157, Listeria Monocytogenes, and Campylobacter. (Source attribution is the estimated percentage of foodborne illnesses associated with a specific food or foods.)

The team of researchers used outbreak surveillance data supplied by the CDC to estimate the percentages of domestically acquired foodborne illness outbreaks assigned to a selected list of food categories.

The report states that 66 percent of Campylobacter illnesses were attributed to dairy, while only 8 percnt could be attributed to chicken. Salmonella attribution was broadly distributed across categories; however, 18 percent of illness could be attributed to seeded vegetables, 12 percent to eggs, 12 percent to fruit, and only 10 percent to chicken. Additionally, 0 percent of illnesses could be attributed to chicken for Listeria or for E. coli 0157.

“This report highlights the important strides the broiler industry has made to improve food safety over the last decade,” said NCC Vice President of Scientific and Regulatory Affairs Ashley Peterson, Ph.D. “It also shows we have more work to do. The industry is working every day to get those numbers as close to zero as possible. Even with very low levels of Salmonella, there is still the possibility of illness if a raw product is improperly handled or cooked, which is why we must remain vigilant in our consumer food safety education efforts.”

The full report can be accessed by clicking here.