Research – Netherlands records more than 800 outbreaks in 2021

Food Safety News

The number of foodborne outbreaks in the Netherlands passed 800 in 2021, according to the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM).

A total of 838 outbreaks, affecting 3,517 people, were reported in 2021. This is an increase compared with 559 outbreaks in 2020 affecting 1,907 people and is also up from 735 outbreaks in 2018 and 756 in 2019.

Salmonella and Campylobacter were still responsible for most outbreaks and illnesses this past year. Norovirus was reported far less than in previous years for the second year in a row.

Figures come from the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) and Municipal Health Service (GGD).

Pathogen unknown for most outbreaks
Based on NVWA statistics, most outbreaks involved two to four and five to nine patients. Twenty or more sick people were registered in 13 outbreaks, with 71 and 79 patients in two norovirus incidents. More than 400 people were affected in one outbreak caused by an unknown pathogen. From GGD figures, in 28 outbreaks, four people died from listeriosis.

A pathogen was found in patients, food or environmental samples for only 28 of the 838 outbreaks. Experts said the percentage of outbreaks where a pathogen was identified continues to decrease but the reason for this is uncertain.

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