CDC Vital Signs Report Focuses on Norovirus

When it comes to preventing foodborne illness, the LGMA is in agreement with health experts who remind us that protecting public health is a shared responsibility that begins on the farm, but doesn’t end there.

This week the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued its June 2014 Vital Signs report which focuses on preventing norovirus. In this report, CDC identifies norovirus as the leading cause of foodborne illness in the United States and attributes infected food workers with causing 70 percent of reported norovirus outbreaks.

A Fact Sheet provided by CDC in conjunction with Norovirus Report is extremely helpful in outlining the many ways to prevent spread of norovirus.  We highly encourage you to read it and learn how you can work with farmers, restaurant workers and the CDC to reduce the incidence of this all-too-common pathogen.

This report makes it clear that norovirus is not typically linked to on-farm contamination – in fact, past analysis of CDC Foodborne Illness Databases shows that just 2 percent of all produce outbreaks — not just those linked to norovirus — can be linked to the growing, packing, shipping or processing of produce. Still, for the LGMA, 2 percent is too many

The LGMA was created specifically to ensure vigilance at the farm level in preventing foodborne illness through a system of mandatory government audits.  The leafy greens community recognizes its responsibility to prevent contamination on the farm, but we are also concerned about what might happen to the product after it leaves our farm.  No leafy greens farmer wants a consumer to be sickened by eating the healthy products we grow.  This is why the LGMA is very supportive of efforts to educate consumers and restaurants about proper handling of leafy greens and other produce items to ensure consumers are confident in buying and eating fruits and vegetables

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