Northwest Food Processors Association Food Safety News reports that a consortium of scientists, government regulators and food industry folks traded strategy in early February as part of annual beef industry meetings. The good news, said Dan Englejohn, a deputy administrator of FDA, is signifi cant declines in two of the most frequent foodborne illnesses — Salmonella and E. Coli.
When the latest statistics for Listeria were assembled in 2004, it was down to 0.26 cases per 100,000 people. “Listeria is well controlled in the facilities we control,” said Englejohn. The problem seems to be in delicatessen and sandwich facilities where meat is sliced. He said the FDA is wrestling with the issue because it doesn’t want to get into sampling microbes in retail coolers, a fi eld left to state and local government health inspectors. Englejohn said across all food products, inspectors are fi nding Salmonella in fewer than 3.8 percent of samples taken, compared with 10 percent just a few years earlier. The bad news, he said, is an increase of Salmonella in three classes of poultry.