- U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
- Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
- Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) at the U.S. Department of Agriculture
- National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP)
- National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS)
Food Safety Workgroup Objectives (21)
About the Workgroup
Approach and Rationale
Foodborne illness is common, costly, and preventable. Each year, 1 in 6 Americans get sick from contaminated food.1 These illnesses are estimated to cost the U.S. economy more than $50 billion each year.2 Core objectives selected by the FS Workgroup aim to reduce new cases of foodborne illnesses and prevent an increase in foodborne infections that are resistant to certain antibiotics. Antibiotic-resistant foodborne infections cause more serious health outcomes and are more expensive to treat.3 In addition, the FS Workgroup selected objectives designed to increase the proportion of the U.S. population that follows key food safety practices. These objectives will help to identify opportunities for improving the country’s food safety system from farm to table.
Understanding Food Safety
Safer food promises healthier, longer lives and less costly health care. Anyone can get a foodborne illness, but some groups are at greater risk for hospitalizations and death from these illnesses — for example, children younger than 5 years, people older than 65 years, pregnant women, and people with reduced immunity.4 Raising awareness of the risks among these groups can help decrease disparities, and understanding how to prevent foodborne outbreaks can help decrease their impact nationwide.
Emerging Issues in Food Safety
Foodborne hazards — including germs, undeclared allergens, and chemical contaminants — can enter the food supply at any point from farm to table. Prevention activities and collaborative efforts by the food industry, regulatory and public health agencies, and consumers are needed to reduce foodborne illness in the United States. It’s also important to understand factors and challenges in keeping our food safe, including:
- Difficulties in identifying the food source of illness
- Cultural differences in how food is prepared
- Changes in production practices
- Increases in food imports
- Risk communication
From processes on the farm to practices in the kitchen and every point in between, everyone plays an important role in improving food safety.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018). Estimates of Foodborne Illness in the United States. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/foodborneburden/index.html
Scharff, R.L. (2012). Economic Burden from Health Losses due to Foodborne Illness in the United States. Journal of Food Protection, 75(1), 123-131. doi: 10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-11-058
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019). CDC’s 2019 Antibiotic Resistance Threats Report. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/drugresistance/pdf/threats-report/2019-ar-threats-report-508.pdf
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019). People With a Higher Risk of Food Poisoning. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/people-at-risk-food-poisoning.html