CDC Releases First Estimates of the Food Sources of All Foodborne Illnesses in the U.S.


A new paper from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Attribution of Foodborne Illnesses, Hospitalizations, and Deaths to Food Commodities By Using Outbreak Data, United States, 1998-2008 is being published in the Emerging Infectious Diseases journal. For the first time, the CDC developed a comprehensive set of estimates using data from more than a decade of foodborne disease outbreaks and previously published estimates on how many illnesses can be attributed to each food category.

The paper provides a historical baseline of estimates that will be further refined over time with more data and improved methods.  It builds on the estimates of foodborne illness published in 2011 that told the CDC that about 48 million people (1 in 6) get sick each year from food.  More than 9 million of these illnesses are caused by major pathogens the CDC tracks. The paper focuses on known causes of illness and uses data from nearly 4600 outbreaks to estimate the number of illnesses that can be attributed to each of 17 food categories (called commodities in the paper). It also provides a foundation for priority setting for food safety interventions, policy development, research, and analyses for CDC and its regulatory partners, Food and Drug Administration and USDA/Food Safety and Inspection Services.

This paper may be accessed online by visiting the Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal web site at:

For additional information on this study, visit:

For more information about foodborne illnesses, visit:

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