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The Role of Surveillance in Promoting Food Safety

  • Robert L. ScharffEmail author
  • Craig Hedberg
Chapter
Part of the Food Microbiology and Food Safety book series (FMFS)

Abstract

Foodborne illness surveillance systems are designed to collect, analyze, and disseminate information about foodborne illnesses. Consequently, they help solve critical information problems faced by consumers, firms, and government agencies. By providing better information to the market, these surveillance systems create incentives (accountability) that leads to safer foods and better consumer awareness. For public health officials, surveillance provides a means to identify and mitigate current outbreaks, prioritize resources, and craft better preventative interventions.

To illustrate the economic value of surveillance, we provide an analysis of one system (PulseNet) using updated economic data and models. PulseNet-related activities lead to substantial social benefits due to reductions in illnesses due to Salmonella spp. and E. coli O157:H7. Adjusting for underreporting and underdiagnosis, as many as 330,840 Salmonella- and 17,475 E. coli-related illnesses are averted each year due to PulseNet. This leads to economic benefits of up to $5.4 billion.

Keywords

Disease surveillance PulseNet Cost of illness Economic impact Burden of illness Food safety Foodborne disease Foodborne illness 

Abbreviations

CDC

Centers for Disease Control Research and Prevention/US

CIFOR

Council to Improve Foodborne Outbreak Response

FDA

Food and Drug Administration/US

FDOSS

Food Disease Outbreak Surveillance System

FOOD Tool

Foodborne Outbreak Online Database

HUS

Hemolytic uremic syndrome

NNDSS

National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System

NORS

National Outbreak Reporting System

PFGE

Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis

PulseNet

National Molecular Subtyping Network for Foodborne Disease Surveillance

STEC

Shiga-toxin E. coli

WGS

Whole genome sequencing

USDA

United States Department of Agriculture

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Human SciencesThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  2. 2.Division of Environmental Health SciencesUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA

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