Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/12/2005
Publication Date: 6/7/2005
Citation: Juneja, V.K. 2005. Current food safety issues and research at the usda agricultural research service. Meeting Abstract.
Technical Abstract: Foodborne illness is recognized as a significant public health problem in the United States. An estimated 76 million cases of foodborne illness occur each year in the United States, costing between $6.5 billion and $34.9 billion in medical care and lost productivity, respectively. Information obtained through the Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Emerging Infections Program (EIP) indicated decreases in infections, from 1996-2003, caused by Yersinia (51% reduction), E. coli O157 (43% reduction), Listeria (21% reduction), Shigella (12% reduction), Campylobacter (29% reduction), and Salmonella (19% reduction). According to CDC, these declines are evidence of important progress towards the National Health Objectives and Healthy People 2010 Objectives. The decreases in the incidence of foodborne illness associated with several major pathogens can be attributed to increased focus on surveillance, outbreak investigation, research, risk assessment, regulation, guidance, enforcement, coordination, and education efforts by government agencies, including the USDA. Current issues that need to be addressed, however, are the threat from emerging pathogens, including non-O157 Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, hepatitis E virus, and multiple antibiotic-resistant pathogens, and the threat of a bioterrorist attack on the food supply. One of the major research centers within the Agricultural Research Service in which food safety research is conducted is the Eastern Regional Research Center (ERRC), Wyndmoor, PA. Major areas of research include thermal and non-thermal interventions for various types of foodborne pathogens, predictive microbiology, bacterial genomics and proteomics, and the development of pathogen detection systems. An overview of the research conducted at the ERRC will be presented.