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April 26, 2019

Better testing has led to higher rates of food poisoning

CDC report calls for targeted measures to improve food safety

Healthy Eating Food Poisoning
Raw Chicken Food Poisoning Source/

Infections from the most common form of salmonella, a bacteria commonly found in chicken, has not declined in more than 10 years.

The rate of most types of food poisoning infections increased last year. But officials believe that increase may be due to more accurate testing.

The two most common forms of food poisoning – Campylobacter and Salmonella – increased by 12 and 9 percent, respectively, compared to rates seen between 2015 and 2017, according to a report released Thursday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Other common forms of food poisoning, including Cyclospora, Vibrio, Yersinia and STEC, also showed significant increases last year. Cyclospora infections jumped by nearly 400 percent due to large outbreaks associated with produce.

Still, new diagnostic tests have made detecting bacteria easier, revealing infections that previously would have gone undetected.

The report, which examined laboratory-diagnosed infections in 10 states, calls for targeted measures at produce farms, animal farms and processing plants to improve food safety and decrease food poisoning.

Salmonella, a bacteria commonly found in chicken, eggs, beef, pork and vegetables, causes diarrhea and fever. Its most common form, Enteritidis, has not declined in more than 10 years despite regulatory programs designed to reduce the bacteria in chicken and eggs.

Campylobacter, bacteria primarily found in poultry, has been the most commonly-identified infection since 2013, according to the CDC. That infection causes diarrhea.

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