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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

The Community Summary Report on Food-Borne Outbreaks in The European Union in 2007

I am heading to London Sunday for a series of lectures on food safety and just in time the EU put out its report on foodborne diseases for 2007.  Full report – Here.

In total, 5,609 food-borne outbreaks were reported by MSs in 2007 that is a slight decrease of 2.2% compared to 2006. Together 36.1% of the reported outbreaks were classified as verified. The verified outbreaks affected 39,727 people resulting in 3,291 hospitalizations and causing 19 deaths. In addition, the two non-MSs reported 93 food-borne outbreaks, of which 38.7% were verified and 1,475 people were affected, resulting in 55 hospitalizations and causing five deaths. France and Spain reported most (73.0%) of the verified outbreaks in the EU. There was a great variation between MSs in the numbers and proportions of verified outbreaks reported, which may reflect differences in the sensitivity and efficiency of the national systems for investigating and reporting outbreaks in place.

Salmonella was, as in previous years, the most commonly reported cause of food-borne outbreaks in the EU. Twenty-two MSs reported 2,201 Salmonella outbreaks of which 26.8% were verified. The 590 verified Salmonella outbreaks affected 8,922 people, resulted in 1,773 hospitalizations and caused ten deaths.

Food-borne viruses, mainly calicivirus (including norovirus), were reported as the second most common known cause of food-borne outbreaks, and 18 MSs reported a total of 668 outbreaks of which 16.6% were verified. The 111 verified virus outbreaks affected 3,784 people and resulted in 131 hospitalizations.

Campylobacter also remained a common cause of food-borne outbreaks in the EU and 17 MSs reported 461 outbreaks where only 6.5% were verified. The 29 (excluding the large waterborne outbreak) verified Campylobacter outbreaks affected 244 people and resulted in 19 hospitalizations.

Fourteen MSs reported 65 outbreaks caused by pathogenic E. coli, of which 44.6% were verified. The 29 verified E. coli outbreaks affected 541 people and resulted in 24 hospitalizations.
Bacterial toxins produced by Bacillus spp., Clostridium spp. or Staphylococcus spp. were reported by 18 MSs as the cause of 458 outbreaks, of which 93.2% were verified. The 427 verified outbreaks caused by bacterial toxins affected 6,277 people, resulted in 345 hospitalizations and caused four deaths.

Few outbreaks caused by other bacterial agents like Yersinia, Listeria, Shigella, Enterobacter and Citrobacter were reported. In addition, a number of outbreaks caused by parasites were recorded and most of them were Trichinella outbreaks related to consumption of uninspected pig and wild boar meat.