A late-night roiling stomach is cause for frenzied reflection. After wondering if you’re getting sick, your thoughts will likely wander to your most recent meal, prompting that anxiety-inducing question: “Was it something I ate?”
If it was, you’d be among the 48 million people who get foodborne illnesses in the United States each year. And a new report by the Interagency Food Safety Analytics Collaboration offers some insight on what these 48 million people are likely to have eaten before getting sick. When the IFSAC was created in 2011, it was tasked with getting better data on where foodborne illnesses are coming from, and this report is the first one using the group's "improved method."
The report looks at four major pathogens that the IFSAC (a joint effort by the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Department of Agriculture) considered “high priority”: E. Coli 0157, Salmonella, Campylobacter, and Listeria. These bacteria are among the most common and most severe types that cause foodborne illness, but, as the FDA wrote in a press release, “targeted interventions can have a significant impact in reducing them.”
The researchers primarily studied outbreaks from 2008 to 2012, bolstering the set with data from older outbreaks to make sure they included foods that may not have caused outbreaks within that five-year period, but may have still transmitted some illness.