2017 and Beyond:

Reforms Needed to Protect Americans from Foodborne Illness


Foodborne illness is a serious public health issue both nationally and globally. In the United States, 48 million Americans suffer a foodborne illness each year, with 128,000 being hospitalized and 3,000 dying.1 In addition to the acute illnesses – many of which are never diagnosed or reported – victims can also develop long-term health challenges, such as arthritis, diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, kidney dysfunction or neurological impairments.2


The United States has been a leader in food safety, yet despite our efforts, there are some significant gaps. For example, even though the U.S. has national reporting requirements for 20 foodborne pathogens, many of our state public health departments do not have the resources to comply with these reporting mandates.3



CFI has represented consumers in national food safety forums for the past ten years.

Our argument has not waivered:


Given the national and global food and disease challenges facing the U.S. in

the 21st Century, protecting America’s food supply must be a top priority.



We believe that the incoming Trump administration needs to build upon the successes already achieved and provide strong food safety leadership in the future.


Below is a list of urgent food safety actions needed to protect millions of Americans, especially the vulnerable populations,* from foodborne disease:


  • Fully fund and implement the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). This law has ushered in a new proactive and preventive approach to food safety at FDA, the federal agency most responsible for the safety of America’s food supply. Importantly, the law has provisions to help FDA in managing the escalating foreign imports of food, especially fresh produce. Congress and the in-coming Administration need to provide funding to meet FSMA’s preventive controls and produce safety standards, as well as the transportation and foreign supplier verification programs.


  • Improve surveillance of foodborne illnesses. Foodborne illnesses are greatly underreported, with only a few states meeting reporting requirements. In addition to improved reporting, we need food and foodborne illness data to be fully integrated with other human health information, and we need to expand the use of new surveillance technologies, such as whole genome sequencing. Congress and the incoming Administration need to provide funding to state public health departments and laboratories to support clinical analysis of foodborne pathogens. Benefits from developing an improved data sharing infrastructure, with strong clinical capacities, include more information about the spread of human and animal disease and ways to prevent future foodborne illness outbreaks.


  • Limit the use of antimicrobials in livestock and poultry. Currently, the use of antimicrobials in livestock and poultry has not been adequately monitored. Without restrictions on the use of antimicrobials (antibiotics) in food-producing animals, the emergence of antimicrobial bacteria will increase and threaten our ability to treat many types of human infections. The FDA and USDA must take action to reduce the overuse of medically-important drugs for human diseases. Programs to measure the use, dosage and types of illness associated with animal antimicrobial treatments must begin as soon as possible.



CFI promises to keep working to improve food safety for American consumers!


Thank you for your donation.






*Read more about the vulnerable populations here.




1 CDC Estimates of Foodborne Illness in the US (2011)- 2011. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/foodborneburden/2011-foodborne-estimates.html


2 Roberts, T et al (2009) The long-term effects of selected foodborne illnesses. White Paper, Center for Foodborne Illness Research & Prevention. Available at: http://www.foodborneillness.org/cfi-library/CFI_LTHO_PSP_report_Nov2009_050812.pdf


3 Andrews, J. (2015) The prevalence of foodborne illness. Food Safety News. Available at: http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2015/06/the-prevalence-of-foodborne-illness/#.WDSKEfkrLs0