The University of Florida Emerging Pathogens Institute has identifies the top 10 most ‘unwanted’ pathogen-food combinations. This list of the riskiest combinations of foods and disease-causing microorganisms has been provided in order to protect consumers from the nasty, and even costly, bugs. This report is said to be the first comprehensive ranking of its kind in the United States as a compilation of the number of illnesses, costs, and overall public health burden of certain microbes in certain types of food.

Millions of Americans fall victim to the unpleasantness of food poisoning, but you rarely hear about the tragedies that occur from it as well. In fact, thousands of Americans die each year due to food-borne illness.

The report helps to address the issue that efforts to protect the public are not very coordinated. It’s vital for government agencies to work together to effectively target their efforts in identifying which pairs of foods and microbes present the greatest burden. If this doesn’t occur, then time and resources are being wasted while even more people are being put at risk for food-borne illness.

The new report finds five leading bugs that are the worst offenders — Campylobacter, Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes, Toxoplasma gondii and norovirus — which result in $12.7 billion in annual economic loss.

The following are the food combinations that make us the sickest:
1. Poultry contaminated with Campylobacter affects more than 600,000 Americans every year. Salmonella in poultry has also been ranked in the top 10 of the list. These kind of poultry-borne infections can result in vomiting but can also cause death.
2. Salmonella was the leading disease-causing bug, however, it’s not just found in poultry. Salmonella can also be found in produce, eggs and multi-ingredient foods.
3. Listeria in deli meats and soft cheeses, as well as Toxoplasma in pork and beef are the combinations that have the most serious affects on women who are pregnant and developing fetuses, causing stillbirth or infants born with irreversible mental and physical disabilities.
4. Norovirus is typically the result of foodservice workers who fail to follow proper hand washing procedures before handling food. Because of this, the report recommends there should be increased funding in efforts to train employees correctly.
5. E. coli 0157:H7 is usually found in contaminated beef and produce. This type of bacteria causes devastating injuries to small children.

It’s crucial to remain in the know when it comes to the safety of the food that you are serving. Source1 Purchasing works to inform you of the latest news and trends so that you are aware and able to adjust your operations accordingly. For more tips, tricks, and trends, check out more Straight from the Source blogs.

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