CDC foodborne illness data show why proposed food safety budget cuts make no sense
Statement by Jim O’Hara, Director, health promotion policy
New foodborne illness data for 2016 released today by the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention underscore why we need additional public health investments at the Food and Drug Administration and CDC, not less as proposed by President Trump’s so-called “skinny budget.” CDC reports today that our progress combatting foodborne illness is a mixed bag. For example, the 2016 incidence of confirmed Campylobacter was lower, but confirmed rates of incidence were higher for pathogens such as Shiga toxin-producing E. coli. CDC cautioned that the trend data this year is complicated to interpret because of the increasing reliance on new testing methodologies.
The bottom line is clear however. The burden of foodborne illness in the United States continues to be high and progress in food safety, especially prevention, is slow. FDA, CDC, and state health departments that often receive funding from federal sources need more investments, not the 18 percent across-the-board cut for the Department of Health and Human Services offered by the Trump Administration.