Last week at the International Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases in Atlanta, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention presented new research that reveals two emerging –and disturbing –trends:
- Foodborne disease outbreaks caused by imported food appeared to rise in 2009 and 2010, and
- Nearly half of the outbreaks implicated foods imported from areas which had not been associated with outbreaks previously.
An earlier report from the Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (ERS) found that US food imports grew from $41 billion in 1998 to $78 billion in 2007, and that much of that growth occurred in fruit and vegetables, seafood and processed food products.
All told, researchers now estimate that about 16 percent of all the food Americans eat is imported, including up to 85 percent of the seafood and depending on the time of year, as much as 60 percent of fresh produce.
The CDC’s recent study reviewed outbreaks reported to its Foodborne Disease Outbreak Surveillance System from 2005-2010 for implicated foods that were imported into the US. During that five-year period, 39 outbreaks and 2,348 illnesses were linked to imported food from 15 countries. Of those outbreaks: (more…)