Raise your hand if you’ve had food poisoning. I write this with my hand held high. Foodborne illness is a major issue in the United States. About 1/6 (48 million) of Americans suffer from foodborne illnesses each year– 128,000 of those people are hospitalized and 3,000 die. And it’s costly, racking up a bill of $152 billion annually for the US. Data from FoodNet shows no progress was made in reducing foodborne illness in 2012. In fact, rates of the most common disease agents show no change, or, in the cases of Campylobacter and Vibrio, increases of 14 and 43 percent respectively (compared with 2006-2008).
As we’ve written about in the past, technology will be key to tracing and monitoring the safety of our food supply. The following infographic, created by food safety device company CheckIt, illustrates some current food safety concerns, rates of foodborne illness and how mobile devices can improve food safety monitoring. Yes, it is an advertisement for the company, but we feel the data is compelling enough to make it worth sharing.
Food for thought: What if health department inspections considered comprehensive, year-long data rather than just sporadic in-person inspections? Imagine the impact consistent, error-free data could have on food service operations, diners, inspectors and our overall public health.