According to the CDC, imported foods from different countries are causing more outbreaks of foodborne diseases. “Among the different foods imported from other countries, fish and spices, particularly pepper, are the culprits," says Hannah Gould, PhD, said in a report presented at the International Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases in Atlanta.
Gould says that there is an increase in the number of outbreaks in food borne diseases from imported foods and more types of foods from more countries are causing outbreaks. In this study, the researchers analyzed data from 2005 to 2010, during which 39 outbreaks and 2,348 illnesses were reported due to imported foods. More than 50% of the outbreaks were during the last two years of the study. Gould feels that it is too early to say that there is a trend. But officials from CDC are continuously monitoring the outbreaks and analyzing the information.
A total of 17 outbreaks were caused by fish. Six of the outbreaks were caused by spices. Among the different spices, fresh or dried peppers were behind five of the outbreaks. Almost half of the imported foods that caused an outbreak were from Asia. It may not be that food is not safe, but the diseases have increased because import has increased considerably over a period of time. Looking at the import records in America, food imports grew from $41 billion to $78 billion. About 85% of the sea foods are imported from other countries. And sometimes about 65% of the fresh produce is also imported.
According to Gould, we need to get more information on what foods are causing the outbreak and where they are imported from. This will help to concentrate on the prevention methods, especially on those foods that have a higher risk of causing diseases.