Chapter 3 : Outbreaks of Food-Borne Diseases Related to the International Food Trade

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Detecting and investigating the outbreaks of foodborne illness related to imported foods and correcting the problems that lead to their contamination are likely to benefit both importing and exporting countries and should be an integral part of global food safety. This chapter describes the recent experiences in three countries (the United Kingdom, United States, and Australia) with food-borne outbreaks traced to imported foods to highlight the challenges such investigations pose and the lessons they have to offer. With the collaboration of food safety authorities, a detailed public health investigation can reveal how contamination might have occurred, and how it might be prevented. The goals of such an investigation are, first, to understand and control the immediate hazard and, second, to reconstruct how the outbreak happened well enough to ensure that similar events can be prevented in the future. Many national public health authorities collect reports of investigated outbreaks of food-borne diseases from the local and regional health departments, and publish the results of this surveillance periodically. Collating summary reports of investigated outbreaks of food-borne disease is an important means of attributing illness to foods and developing sensible food policy. General strategies to improve the health of the workers and rural populations in developing countries and to increase the capacity of their public health and food safety systems are likely to have long-term benefits to the health in those countries, as well as to prevent infections in the countries to which they export.

Citation: Tauxe R, O’Brien S, Kirk M. 2008. Outbreaks of Food-Borne Diseases Related to the International Food Trade, p 69-112. In Doyle M, Erickson M (ed), Imported Foods. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815745.ch3

Key Concept Ranking

Meat and Meat Products
Food Safety
Foodborne Illnesses
Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
Salmonella enterica
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Table 1

Food-borne outbreaks in the United States and Australia traced to imported contaminated foods, 1998–2004

Citation: Tauxe R, O’Brien S, Kirk M. 2008. Outbreaks of Food-Borne Diseases Related to the International Food Trade, p 69-112. In Doyle M, Erickson M (ed), Imported Foods. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815745.ch3
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Table 2

International food-borne disease outbreaks investigated through Enter-net and involving the United Kingdom between 1998 and 2002

Citation: Tauxe R, O’Brien S, Kirk M. 2008. Outbreaks of Food-Borne Diseases Related to the International Food Trade, p 69-112. In Doyle M, Erickson M (ed), Imported Foods. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815745.ch3
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Table 3

Current members of the international epidemiologic training networks Training Programs in Epidemiology and Public Health Interventions Network (TEPHINET) and European Program for Intervention Epidemiology Training (EPIET)

Citation: Tauxe R, O’Brien S, Kirk M. 2008. Outbreaks of Food-Borne Diseases Related to the International Food Trade, p 69-112. In Doyle M, Erickson M (ed), Imported Foods. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815745.ch3

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