Category Archives: foodborne disease

Research – Foodborne Diseases in the Edible Insect Industry in Europe—New Challenges and Old Problems



Insects play a key role in European agroecosystems. Insects provide important ecosystem services and make a significant contribution to the food chain, sustainable agriculture, the farm-to-fork (F2F) strategy, and the European Green Deal. Edible insects are regarded as a sustainable alternative to livestock, but their microbiological safety for consumers has not yet been fully clarified. The aim of this article is to describe the role of edible insects in the F2F approach, to discuss the latest veterinary guidelines concerning consumption of insect-based foods, and to analyze the biological, chemical, and physical hazards associated with edible insect farming and processing. Five groups of biological risk factors, ten groups of chemical risk factors, and thirteen groups of physical risks factors have been identified and divided into sub-groups. The presented risk maps can facilitate identification of potential threats, such as foodborne pathogens in various insect species and insect-based foods. Ensuring safety of insect-based foods, including effective control of foodborne diseases, will be a significant milestone on the path to maintaining a sustainable food chain in line with the F2F strategy and EU policies. Edible insects constitute a new category of farmed animals and a novel link in the food chain, but their production poses the same problems and challenges that are encountered in conventional livestock rearing and meat production.

Research – WHO wants help to estimate foodborne disease burden

Food Safety News

The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for help as part of work to estimate the burden of foodborne disease.

WHO is seeking support from independent consultants or groups of experts with relevant experience to undertake systematic reviews and other studies on foodborne illness. The process is part of collecting and assessing available evidence.

One call is for the review and evidence synthesis of diarrheal diseases and deaths caused by 14 pathogens commonly transmitted by food. The other covers global expert elicitation for attribution of burden of disease to foodborne transmission and to specific foods.

The WHO Foodborne Disease Burden Epidemiology Reference Group (FERG) was reconvened in May 2021 to update global estimates published in 2015. This group has already met three times in July and October 2021, and April 2022. A new report is expected in 2025.

Research – An 11-Year Analysis of Bacterial Foodborne Disease Outbreaks in Zhejiang Province, China


Background: Foodborne diseases are a growing public health problem and contribute significantly to the global burden of disease and mortality. Bacteria are the most common foodborne pathogens. We aimed to explore characteristics of bacterial foodborne disease outbreaks (FBDOs) in Zhejiang Province and to provide data support for foodborne disease prevention and control. Methods: Descriptive statistical methods were used to analyze the data reported by centers for disease control (CDCs) at all levels in Zhejiang Province through Foodborne Disease Outbreaks Surveillance System (FDOSS) during 2010–2020. Results: CDCs in Zhejiang Province reported 517 bacterial FBDOs in 11 years, resulting in 7031 cases, 911 hospitalizations, and 3 deaths. Vibrio parahaemolyticus had the highest number of outbreaks, accounting for 58.41% of the total bacterial outbreaks, followed by Salmonella (18.38%). In all settings, restaurants (37.14%), staff canteens (11.99%), and households (11.80%) were responsible for the large number of outbreaks. Aquatic products (42.08%), meat and meat products (23.56%), cereals (10.81%), and flour products (9.27%) were the most common single foods reported. Further analysis showed that the settings and food vehicles of outbreaks caused by different pathogens were different. Conclusions: Bacterial outbreaks are the most common type of FBDOs in Zhejiang Province. By analyzing the epidemiological characteristics of common pathogenic bacteria, we can identify the etiology, food, and setting that the government needs to focus on, and issue relevant targeted policies to reduce the number of FBDOs. View Full-Text

Research – First E. coli O103 outbreak caused by minced raw celery gets review.

Food Safety News

E. coli O103, one of the more rare Shiga-toxin producing E. coli, sickened patients at two Victoria, British Columbia, hospitals last April. The Vancouver Island outbreak is now the subject of a study on food safety for high-risk products prepared for vulnerable populations.

Based on confirmed E. coli O103 cases reported to the Island Health infectious disease unit, whole-genome sequencing was used in the case study. The Canada Communicable Disease Report (CCDR) published the study in its January 2022 edition.

The Victoria outbreak identified six confirmed E.coli O103 cases, with 67 percent being female and a medium age of 61. All were inpatients or outpatients at the two hospitals. All consumed raw minced celery sandwiches prepared by the hospital food services.

UK – Estimating deaths from foodborne disease in the UK for 11 key pathogens



To estimate the number of deaths from foodborne disease in the UK from 11 key pathogens.


Four different models were developed using data from a range of sources. These included enhanced surveillance, outbreaks, death certificates and hospital episode statistics data. For each model, median estimates were produced with 95% credible intervals (CrI). The results from the different models were compared.


The estimates for foodborne deaths for each pathogen from the different models were consistent, with CrIs largely overlapping. Based on the preferred model for each pathogen, foodborne norovirus is estimated to cause 56 deaths per year (95% CrI 32 to 92), foodborne Salmonella 33 deaths (95% CrI 7 to 159), foodborne Listeria monocytogenes 26 deaths (95% CrI 24 to 28), foodborne Clostridium perfringens 25 deaths (95% CrI 1 to 163) and foodborne Campylobacter 21 deaths (95% CrI 8 to 47). The considerable overlap in the CrIs means it is not possible to make any firm conclusions on ranking. Most of these deaths occur in those aged over 75 years. Foodborne deaths from ShigellaCryptosporidiumGiardia, adenovirus, astrovirus and rotavirus are all rare.


We estimate that there are 180 deaths per year in the UK (95% CrI 113 to 359) caused by foodborne disease based on these 11 pathogens. While this is a small fraction of the estimated 2.4 million cases of foodborne illness per year it still illustrates the potential severity of these illnesses demonstrating the importance in continuing efforts to reduce these infections.

Keywords: infectious disease, CampylobacterSalmonella

Summary box

What is already known about this subject?

  • Foodborne disease is a common illness in the UK.

  • Previous research has estimated that there are 566 000 cases, 74 000 general practitioner presentations and 7600 hospital admissions related to foodborne disease from 13 known pathogens in UK; no estimate was made for deaths.

  • Campylobacter and norovirus are the most common foodborne pathogens in the UK.

  • Other common foodborne pathogens include Clostridium perfringens and Salmonella.

What are the new findings?

  • This study provides updated estimates of deaths for each of the 11 key foodborne pathogens considered; in total, these 11 pathogens cause 180 deaths per year in the UK (95% credible interval (CrI) 113 to 359).

  • Among them, Campylobacter, C. perfringens, Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella and norovirus pathogens are responsible for over 98% of these deaths.

  • Ranking between these five is difficult due to overlapping CrIs.

How might it impact on clinical practice in the foreseeable future?

  • This highlights the potential severity of Salmonella, L. monocytogenesC. perfringensCampylobacter and norovirus, particularly in comparison with other infectious intestinal diseases that have a food source.

USA – Hepatitis A risk at KFC in Hudson North Carolina

Food Poison Journal

The State of North Carolina notified Caldwell County this late afternoon about a confirmed case of Hepatitis A in an individual who works at KFC in Hudson.

According to state guidelines, transmission to patrons is unlikely, so vaccination for restaurant patrons is not recommended at this time.

“We are working closely with the restaurant, the State of North Carolina, and the CDC to ensure the health and safety of our community,” said Anna Martin, Caldwell County Public Health Director.

The individual diagnosed with Hepatitis A is being treated. Individuals who came in close contact with the patient have been notified.

The nation is experiencing a large Hepatitis A outbreak, and everyone is encouraged to check their Hepatitis A vaccination status. Anyone who wishes to be vaccinated for Hepatitis A can call the Caldwell County Health Department at 828-426-8400 for a vaccination appointment. The Health Department is open Monday through Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Research – Vital Surveillances: Characteristics of Settings and Etiologic Agents of Foodborne Disease Outbreaks — China, 2020

China CDC

  • Abstract

    IntroductionFoodborne diseases are a growing public health problem and have caused a large burden of disease in China. This study analyzed epidemiological characteristics of foodborne diseases in China in 2020 to provide a scientific basis for prevention and control measures.

    MethodsData were collected from 30 of 31 provincial-level administrative divisions (PLADs) in the mainland of China, excluding Xizang (Tibet) Autonomous Region, via the National Foodborne Disease Outbreaks Surveillance System. The number and proportion of outbreaks, illnesses, hospitalizations, deaths by setting, pathogen-food category pairs and etiology were calculated.

    ResultsIn 2020, 7,073 foodborne disease outbreaks were reported, resulting in 37,454 illnesses and 143 deaths. Among the identified pathogens, microbial pathogens were the most common confirmed etiology, accounting for 41.7% of illnesses. Poisonous mushrooms caused the largest proportion of outbreaks (58.0%) and deaths (57.6%). For venues where foodborne disease outbreaks occur, household had the highest number of outbreaks (4,140) and deaths (128), and catering service locations caused the largest proportion of illnesses (59.9%). Outbreaks occurring between June and September accounted for 62.8% of total outbreaks.

    ConclusionsFoodborne disease outbreaks mainly occurred in households. Microbial pathogens remained the top cause of outbreak-associated illnesses. Poisonous mushrooms were ranked the top cause of deaths in private homes in China. The supervision and management of food safety and health education should be strengthened to reduce the burden of foodborne diseases. Publicity should be increased to reduce the incidence of mushroom poisonings in families, and supervision and management of food should be strengthened to reduce microbial contamination.

Research – Healthcare-associated foodborne outbreaks in high-income countries: a literature review and surveillance study, 16 OECD countries, 2001 to 2019


Yearly, 23 million foodborne disease illnesses and 5,000 deaths are estimated in the World Health Organization (WHO) European Region, and 41 foodborne Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) per 100,000 population were estimated for the WHO Sub-Region EUR A in 2010 [1]. In Europe, a total of 5,146 foodborne and waterborne outbreaks, including 48,365 cases of illness and 40 deaths were reported to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in 2018 [2]. Vulnerable populations, including elderly patients, immunocompromised patients, children younger than five years old and pregnant women are more susceptible to foodborne infections and are more prone to develop severe courses of disease compared with healthy people [3]. Therefore, healthcare is a setting where foodborne outbreaks (FBO) can cause considerable morbidity and mortality. In 2020, 20.6% of the European Union (EU) population was aged 65 years and older [4]. As the proportion of elderly people is projected to further increase, the share of the vulnerable population as patients in healthcare facilities (HCF) is likely to increase and thereby the risk associated with healthcare-associated foodborne outbreaks (HA-FBO). Personnel (medical and non-medical staff, food handlers etc) of HCF may also be at risk for HA-FBO and be a source of further spread in healthcare settings and elsewhere. This can cause major disruption of services [5].

So far, literature reviews have covered pathogens responsible for HA-FBO, including  [6],  [79] and norovirus [10,11] and focused on microbiological food safety issues in healthcare settings [5,12]. Between 2014 and 2019, a listeriosis outbreak in Germany affected 13 cases who had an inpatient stay in 12 different HCF during the incubation period [13]. In the United Kingdom (UK) in 2019, nine listeriosis cases of which seven died, had consumed sandwiches in seven HCF during the incubation period [14].

We conducted a literature review to describe the causative agents including bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi, the incriminated food vehicles and other outbreak characteristics of HA-FBO in 37 countries that are members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) [15]. Furthermore, we analysed German surveillance data and data from the EFSA on HA-FBO. The aim of this article is to describe the current status of HA-FBO in order to improve surveillance and provide public health recommendations for prevention.

USA – Georgetown University reports outbreak among students; source unknown

Food Safety News

At least a dozen students at Georgetown University have reported being sick with symptoms that resemble foodborne illness and an official says they may be part of a nationwide outbreak of Salmonella infections.

Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Ranit Mishori says the school is working to determine the cause of the illnesses.

“At this time we do not know the cause of the symptoms, but it is prudent to assume they are related to an infectious process. Please be aware that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported a national outbreak of Salmonella from an unknown source,” according to a letter Mishori sent to students and staff. 

Students have reported symptoms including severe stomach pains, vomiting and diarrhea, which are consistent with foodborne illness.

Spain – La Manga hotel kitchen closed following food poisoning outbreak

Murcia Today

Public Health has temporarily closed the kitchen of the Doblemar Hotel, located on the Gran Via in La Manga del Mar Menor, after 63 guests were taken ill with food poisoning. Sources have since revealed that the outbreak was originally detected on July 25, but that more cases were reported in recent days and the kitchen was shut this week while the source of the contamination is investigated.
While many of those affected have suffered only mild symptoms, such as nausea, fever or vomiting, as many as 20 of the guests have had to be admitted to hospital.
Food poisoning, or norovirus infection, usually causes gastroenteritis, the most common symptoms of which are stomach pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. Most people develop symptoms 12 to 48 hours after contracting norovirus, and they can last up to three days. Contagion occurs by coming into direct contact with an infected person, by consuming intoxicated food or water and by touching contaminated surfaces and then touching the mouth with the hands. There is no specific drug against this virus, and doctors recommend drinking plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.