A report and policy brief released today identifies the Top 10 riskiest combinations of foods and disease-causing bugs, a finding that will help the FDA, USDA and other agencies do a better job when it comes to keeping the nation’s food supply safe.

Screen shot 2011-04-28 at 9.04.47 AM.pngScreen shot 2011-04-28 at 9.05.12 AM.pngThe Top 10 list, by researchers at the University of Florida’s Emerging Pathogens Institute, is the first to rank not just pathogens (bugs like Salmonella) but the combinations of foods and pathogens that cause significant outbreaks of illness, high costs and long-term complications.

Some key findings and recommendations of the report include:

• The Top 10 pathogen-food combinations cost the United States an estimated $8 billion a year.

• Salmonella is the leading pathogen, causing the largest number of hospitalizations, the greatest number of deaths and the highest cost burden. The report recommends that FDA and USDA develop a joint initiative to target Salmonella, which is found in a wide variety of foods.

• The researchers recommend that federal, state and local agencies coordinate their efforts and target the biggest food safety problems, including the Top 10 list.

  • Dog Doctor

    Mr. Marler, thank you for publishing this information. It is a thorough and thoughtful study.
    I would like to point an important quote in the report
    “It is important to recognize that these rankings reflect disease burden of the population of the United States for one year, and do not reflect risks to individual consumers or risk per serving.’
    This is an important point if you want use this study to justify any changes in policies or relaxing food safety standard for food that didn’t make the list

  • Gabrielle Meunier

    Its helpful to have sound statistics that document the true cost of foodborne illness. It is truly significant.

  • Doc Mudd

    Interesting that, although we hear so little about it, toxoplasmosis ranks second (after salmonellosis), not only for “cost of ilness” but also for deaths.
    Since Toxoplasma gondii isn’t cultured with the common food-borne bacteria there are few recalls and little notice in the media.
    More media attention might be warranted, especially with growing faddism for home gardening, organic foods (derived from a quaint manure-based technology), raw/mildly cooked vegetables and the overall thrust to increase vegetable consumption among everyone including pregnant women.