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Number of U.S. Food-borne Illness Cases Stalled

More vigilance needed from regulators, industry and consumers, health official says

continued...

Tauxe noted some caveats in the results. Surveillance data do not cover the entire country -- only about 15 percent of the population. Some of the illnesses are also acquired from sources other than food, and norovirus ("cruise virus") isn't covered because it typically isn't tested for in clinical labs.

Also speaking at the conference was Dr. David Goldman, assistant administrator at the Office of Public Health Science, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service.

"We have seen that there have been some positive trends . . . but compared to recent years we have seen some troubling trends that we continue to address," Goldman said.

In 2012, the USDA added six strains of E. coli in its industry testing of beef-trim products, he said, and the agency continues to evaluate data and is considering testing of other beef products.

They've also tightened standards for salmonella and implemented new Campylobacter standards for plants producing chicken and turkey, Goldman noted.

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