After 2014 Outbreak, Food Safety Summit Steps Up Precautions
From Food Safety News
The incident was tailor-made for snarky headlines: Foodborne illness sickens hundreds of attendees at conference dedicated to food safety.
That’s exactly what happened at last April’s Food Safety Summit (FSS) in Baltimore, when 216 of 1,300 attendees fell ill with symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal cramping and nausea. The culprit: A catered chicken dish served at lunch and likely contaminated with Clostridium perfringens, a bacteria commonly found on raw meat and chicken.
If any lesson could be learned from that outbreak, it was that foodborne illness can happen to anyone, anywhere. And while they admit that outbreaks can even strike the most food safety-conscious among us, the organizers of this year’s 17th annual Food Safety Summit are significantly bolstering their efforts to ensure that another outbreak doesn’t happen.
They’re also making the most of the unfortunate incident by turning the outbreak into a learning opportunity. Part of this year’s conference will include a panel event to look back at last year’s outbreak investigation from the perspective of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and compare it to other state-level outbreak investigations. Attendees will also learn that such outbreaks are much more commonplace than they might think. The majority of outbreaks don’t cross state lines and therefore don’t draw much attention, nor the involvement of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
If not for the ironic context, last year’s outbreak might not have even made the news.