Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Foodborne Illnesses, Fighting the Battle from Farm to Fork

Author
item Bailey, Joseph

Submitted to: Clinical Microbiological Reviews
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: October 1, 1999
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Foodborne bacteria are significant both because of the illnesses they cause and their associated financial costs. Exact numbers are difficult to verify, but good cases can be made for yearly estimates of 1 to 5 million cases of Campylobacterosis, 700,000 to 3 million cases of salmonellosis, 8,000 to 16,000 cases of E. coli 0157:H7, and 100 to 1500 cases of listeriosis. Total foodborne bacterial illnesses are estimated to cost the U.S. economy between 6 and 13 billion dollars. Historically, we have sought terminal pasteurization treatments to control these bacterial pathogens in foods. In the case of milk, this approach has been successful. For other foods such as raw meats and fruits and vegetables, with the exception of irradiation and cooking, no such "magic bullet" has been found. Because of the widespread nature and complex ecology of these pathogens, comprehensive, multifaceted interventions from the farm all the way to the consumer will have to be implemented to attain significant control. In this talk, the nature of the ecology of the various pathogens and some of the control approaches will be highlighted.

Technical Abstract: Foodborne bacteria are significant both because of the illnesses they cause and their associated financial costs. Exact numbers are difficult to verify, but good cases can be made for yearly estimates of 1 to 5 million cases of Campylobacterosis, 700,000 to 3 million cases of salmonellosis, 8,000 to 16,000 cases of E. coli 0157:H7, and 100 to 1500 cases of listeriosis. Total foodborne bacterial illnesses are estimated to cost the U.S. economy between 6 and 13 billion dollars. Historically, we have sought terminal pasteurization treatments to control these bacterial pathogens in foods. In the case of milk, this approach has been successful. For other foods such as raw meats and fruits and vegetables, with the exception of irradiation and cooking, no such "magic bullet" has been found. Because of the widespread nature and complex ecology of these pathogens, comprehensive, multifaceted interventions from the farm all the way to the consumer will have to be implemented to attain significant control. In this talk, the nature of the ecology of the various pathogens and some of the control approaches will be highlighted.

Last Modified: 12/21/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page