Deadliest food contaminations decline, but new threats arise

Efforts to protect consumers from E. coli’s deadliest form and the most common type of Salmonella have significantly decreased the number of outbreaks in the United States, but instances of other food-borne illnesses are on the rise, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Information gathered by the health-protection agency showed double-digit increases in food contaminations last year from Campylobacter and Vibrio, two pathogens that can cause flu-like symptoms. Also on the rise were instances of consumers being sickened by a strain of Salmonella bacteria, Salmonella Javiana. The outbreaks had been confined largely to the Southeast, but the CDC reported that contaminations are spreading to other areas.

Reports of people being stricken by E. coli 0157, the strain that killed four children and sickened 728 other restaurant customers in 1993, have fallen 32 percent in six years. The bacteria thrive in undercooked meat and leafy vegetables that are served raw, like lettuce or spinach.

The number of cases of garden-variety Salmonella poisoning fell 27 percent, the CDC said.


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