There has been on average 24 multistate outbreaks reported each year since 2010, each involving two to 37 states. In Arizona, just in the last few months, we have helped investigate several notable multistate outbreaks including: Salmonella associated with cucumbers, raw ground tuna and a truffle and mushroom product.
Teamwork is crucial to a rapid response to a foodborne outbreak and requires participation from a variety of partners including: epidemiologists, laboratorians, environmental health inspectors, federal regulatory partners like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), industry (such as grocery stores, restaurants, distribution centers and farms), and the public.
Last week, we were lucky to have the annual Integrated Foodborne Outbreak Response and Management (InFORM) conference in Arizona. During this event, leaders from a variety of areas responsible for foodborne outbreak response and food safety got together to share best practices and identify ways to improve our response to outbreaks.
So what can you do to help? You can:
- Check food recalls and information about how to handle and prepare food safely on: foodsafety.gov or CDC Food Safety
- Take action if you think you have a foodborne sickness:
- Talk to your healthcare provider
- Write down what you ate in the week before you started to get sick (it is not always your last meal that made you sick)
- Assist public health investigators by answering questions about your sickness
- Consider getting a loyalty card where you shop. If there is a recall, the store can use the card to notify you
To help in the fight against foodborne disease, CDC just released their Vital Signs report with some important information on steps that can be taken to stop multi-state foodborne outbreaks.