Dramatic drop in UK foodborne disease cases

12-10-2006 | |

The UK Food Standards Agency has released a report showing that lab-reported cases of foodborne pathogens have dropped by 19.2 percent from 2000 to 2005.

The change, it says, is owed to better regulations, training and public information campaigns.
Overall, the number of cases of people getting sick has fallen by 1.5 million over the five years to the end of 2005.
Cases of Campylobacter and Salmonella have fallen by more than 20 percent each, but E. coli and Listeria are on the increase, with the number of Listeria cases doubling since 2000.
Changes to UK regulations have been driven by increasing public concern about the safety of the food chain and have resulting in more costs and greater public scrutiny for processors.
The report reveals that 53,052 laboratory-reported cases of foodborne pathogens were reported in 2005.
The figure represents a reduction in the number of cases by 1.5 million over the five years, resulting in10,000 fewer hospitalisations at a cost saving to the economy estimated at £750million (€1,112million), according to FSA estimates.
A preliminary evaluation of the campaign to reduce the overall incidence of foodborne disease has concluded that the strategy had addressed the areas most likely to have an impact on reducing illness. The strategy included food hygiene campaigns targeting cross-contamination, encouraging thorough cooking and raising public awareness of the dangers.