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Location: Environmental Microbial & Food Safety Laboratory

Title: Impacts of globalization on foodborne parasites

item Robertson, Lucy - Norwegian School Of Veterinary Sciences
item Sprong, Hein - National Institute For Public Health And The Environment (RIVM)
item Ortega, Ynes - University Of Georgia
item Van Der Giessen, Joke - National Institute For Public Health And The Environment (RIVM)
item Fayer, Ronald

Submitted to: Trends in Parasitology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/19/2013
Publication Date: 10/1/2014
Citation: Robertson, L., Sprong, H., Ortega, Y., Van Der Giessen, J., Fayer, R. 2014. Impacts of globalization on foodborne parasites. Trends in Parasitology. 30:37-52.

Interpretive Summary: Globalization is a manmade phenomenon encompassing the spread and movement of everything, animate and inanimate, material and intangible, around the planet and may have intended accomplishments or unintended consequences. Pathogens, including parasites, may be spread, enabling their establishment in new niches and exposing new human and animal populations to infection. Worldwide, at least 107 species of foodborne parasites cause disease in humans from consumption of raw or undercooked meats, fish, and produce. Their distribution by globalization has only recently been acknowledged, and will provide challenges for clinicians, veterinarians, diagnosticians and everyone concerned with food safety. Globalization may also provide the resources to overcome some of these challenges by facilitating the sharing of methods and approaches, and establishment of systems and databases that enable control of parasites entering the global food-chain.

Technical Abstract: In 2010 an estimated 3% of the world’s population lived outside their country of origin. Among immigrants, tourists, and business travellers worldwide several foodborne parasites are frequently found including Ascaris, Trichiuris, hookworms, Enterobius, Fasciola, Hymenolepis, and several protozoa. This variability reflects the country of origin, access to sanitation and hygiene, demographics, and socio-economic status. Whether parasites that accompany their migrant hosts infect other people or animals, or enter the food-chain and establish in new countries depends on factors including diagnosis and treatment, the lifecycles and epidemiology of the specific parasites, and the possibilities for transmission. International trade in livestock today is worth billions of dollars. For 2013, the global production of beef, pork, and poultry was estimated at 57.5, 107.4, and 84.6 million tons, respectively, from which 8.6, 7.2, and 10.3 million tons, respectively, were exported. Of the 24 highest ranked food-borne parasites, five are associated with the consumption of raw or undercooked infected meat: Taenia solium, Taenia saginata, Trichinella spiralis, Toxoplasma gondii, and Sarcocystis spp. Growth in the aquaculture industry has increased to over 60 million tons today. Tapeworm infections in Europe have been linked to imported fish. Global trade of fruits and vegetables is steadily increasing. In the USA, importation of fresh vegetables from 2000 to 2004 increased from 13.8 to 16.9%; import of spinach increased 314% and head lettuce increased 303%, primarily from Mexico; from 2000 to 2006 imports increased 292% for raspberries (Mexico) and sweet cherries (Chile). Ascaris and Cyclospora infections are linked to imported produce. Education of consumers, food handlers, and food producers in basic food safety remains imperative. Disinfection of drinking water, sewage treatment, pasteurisation, freezing, canning, shellfish bed sanitation, and the use of antimicrobial compounds, have all reduced the prevalence foodborne pathogens and foodborne diseases. In developed countries, surveillance of foodborne disease has become a fundamental component of food safety systems.