In recent years, the number of cases of food poisoning has risen dramatically in Australia. CDC reports show that the number of food poisoning outbreaks linked to restaurant food has doubled over the past decade. In fact, 80% of food poisoning outbreaks in 2011 were linked to food services. This increase in outbreaks is largely attributed to a shift in consumer habits. People are eating out more and cooking less, and this trend is leading to higher rates of food poisoning.
Among the leading causes of foodborne illness are bacteria. Salmonella and Toxoplasma gondii cause more than half of all cases of food poisoning in the United States. These bacteria are found in many foods, including meat, poultry, eggs, and fresh produce. Although Salmonella is the most common cause of food poisoning, other types of bacteria, including e. coli, also cause foodborne illness.
While older adults are at greater risk of developing food-borne illnesses, they have a lower immune system. Infected food may also be easier to tolerate for pregnant women, who have less developed immune systems. Older adults and those with chronic illness are also susceptible to food poisoning. A mild case of food poisoning can resemble a stomach flu. In some cases, however, severe food poisoning can result in death.
The CDC has reported that 15 of 200 illness clusters that are investigated turn out to be true outbreaks. There have been 13 such outbreaks so far this year. The CDC has a database linking state public health labs and CDC, making it possible to find outbreaks and links between food products. There is no one definite answer to the question of why food poisoning has increased over time. But there are some factors that can help us reduce the risk of food poisoning and make our lives more comfortable and safe.