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Salmonella: Commonest Cause of Food-Borne Outbreaks

by 5m Editor
6 May 2009, at 10:27am

EU - The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) have published their Community Summary Report on Food-borne Outbreaks in the EU in 2007.

It shows that Salmonella remained the most common cause of food-borne outbreaks in the European Union, followed by food-borne viruses and Campylobacter. A total of 5,609 outbreaks were reported in 2007, which affected almost 40,000 people and caused 19 deaths. The report is based on a new robust reporting system distinguishing between possible and verified outbreaks. While the data vary considerably between Member States, a high number of reported outbreaks do not necessarily indicate a particular food safety concern but may rather be indicative that an effective national monitoring system is in place.

The report showed that Salmonella continued to be the most frequent cause of food-borne outbreaks accounting for four out of every ten reported outbreaks. Of the 2,201 Salmonella outbreaks reported, 590 could be verified by laboratory detection or by analytical epidemiological evidence. The remainder were also likely to be food-borne outbreaks, but no conclusive evidence was available. These outbreaks affected 8,922 people and caused ten deaths. Eggs or products containing eggs were the foods most frequently involved in the Salmonella outbreaks.

As in the previous year, viruses were the second most frequent cause of food-borne outbreaks. Altogether, food-borne viruses accounted for 668 reported outbreaks (of which 111 were verified) affecting over 3,700 people but causing no deaths. Crustaceans, shellfish, molluscs and buffet meals were reported as the sources of viral outbreaks.

Campylobacter followed in the list of most common causes with 461 outbreaks, of which 29 (excluding a large water-borne outbreak) were verified, affecting 244 people. Chicken and other meats remained the most common food source of these outbreaks.

Further Reading

- You can view the full report on Food-Borne Outbreaks in The European Union in 2007 clicking here.