New Report on Foodborne Illness and the Food Safety Working Group


The Federal Food Safety Working Group Progress Report, December 2011

The White House has released a new report on the Food Safety Working Group (FSWG). The FSWG was created by President Obama in March 2009. The group is a “central coordinating mechanism for the federal government’s food safety activities that is led by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The FSWG’s core mission is to strengthen federal efforts and devlop short-term and long-term strategies to improve food safety.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated that nearly “1 in 6 Americans suffers from a foodborne illness annually, resulting in 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths per year, most of which are preventable.” According to the report, foodborne illness also results in billions of dollars in medical costs and large economic losses to food industries following outbreaks and contamination incidents. Because of these consequences of foodborne illness the FSWG is trying to strengthen federal efforts to develop strategies to improve food safety in the US.

Some of the topics highlighted in the report include:
-“Prevention of Foodborne Illness”
-“Reduce Bacterial Pathogens in Foods”
-“Disease Surveillance”
-“Antimicrobial Resistance”
-“Strengthening the National Traceback and Response System”
-“Retail Food Safety”
-“Upcoming Preventive Control Standards”
-“Enhanced Surveillance and Compliance”

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