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Foodborne disease outbreaks

Food infections and poisoning (intoxications) in humans can be caused by a variety of bacterial, viral and parasitic pathogens or the toxins formed by them. They usually lead to gastro-intestinal complaints which often have a mild, self-limiting course but which can also produce severe, sometimes even life-threatening, symptoms.

To prevent foodborne diseases, compliance with general hygiene rules when preparing foods is essential, even in private households. Various press releases and consumer tips, which can also be downloaded under the heading “Documents”, explain their meaning in easily understandable language.

The suspicion of a foodborne disease outbreak exists when two or more people fall ill after eating the same food. Foodborne disease outbreaks can occur as localised events in community institutions or private households when ready-to-eat foods become contaminated through handling errors or the use of contaminated ingredients. After eating the food, this can lead to the sudden occurrence of several cases of illness. Localised foodborne outbreaks are therefore usually recognised quickly, and reported to and investigated by the responsible authorities. To support regional veterinary and food control authorities, the BfR has published guidelines for the investigation into outbreaks along the food chain.

The BfR has published a leaflet on how to prevent foodborne disease outbreaks in curative and nursing institutions, such as hospitals, nursing homes and childcare centres. It is intended to support the responsible staff in institutions of this kind in the implementation of the legal provisions. The leaflet “Safe Food in Community Institutions” can be downloaded under the heading “Publications - Leaflets for other professional groups”.

Diffuse, supraregional foodborne outbreaks are much more difficult to recognise on the other hand. These can occur if foods are contaminated right at the beginning of the food chain during food production or processing, for example, prior to distribution and marketing over large areas. Examples of this are the EHEC outbreak in Germany in 2011 and a norovirus outbreak in eastern Germany in 2012 which occurred after the consumption of foods containing strawberries.

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Information

 (7)
Date Title Size
08.08.2014
BfR Information Nr. 030/2014
Foods implicated in disease outbreaks in Germany in 2013 34.4 KB
PDF-File
02.08.2013
BfR Information Nr. 019/2013
Foods implicated in disease outbreaks in Germany in 2012 34.1 KB
PDF-File
19.09.2012
BfR Information Nr. 035/2012
Food involved in disease outbreaks in Germany in 2011 43.3 KB
PDF-File
26.09.2011
BfR Information No. 041/2011
Food involved in disease outbreaks in Germany in 2010 39.0 KB
PDF-File
27.07.2010
BfR Information No. 033/2010
Food involved in disease outbreaks in Germany in 2009 33.2 KB
PDF-File
31.05.2009
BfR Information No. 033/2009
Food involved in disease outbreaks in Germany in 2008 29.9 KB
PDF-File
31.03.2009
BfR Information No. 010/2009
Food involved in disease outbreaks in Germany in 2007 27.2 KB
PDF-File

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Opinion

 (2)
Date Title Size
05.07.2016
BfR Opinion No 019/2016 upon consultation with the RKI
Possible health risks from contaminated foods in hospital kitchens can be minimised through suitable measures 31.8 KB
PDF-File
06.10.2012
BfR Opinion No. 038/2012
Tenacity (resistance) of noroviruses in strawberry compote 75.1 KB
PDF-File

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Publications - Brochures

 (1)
Date Title Size
08.05.2018
Information
Safe Food - Especially Vulnerable Groups in Community Institutions 2.0 MB
PDF-File

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Communication

 (1)
Date Title Size
13.12.2016
BfR Communication No. 035 /2016
EFSA and BfR to work jointly on global food safety tools 23.8 KB
PDF-File

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Press releases

 (16)
Date Title Keywords
10.04.2018
12/2018
Foodborne disease outbreaks: Doing the right thing at the right time with suitable means in times of crisis cooperations, food infection , outbreaks
25.01.2017
02/2017
Safe preparation of food in commercial kitchens food hygiene , food infection , food safety , hygiene , publications
27.01.2016
05/2016
Hygiene rules in the catering sector: ensuring safe handling of food food hygiene , food infection , food safety , hygiene , publications
07.08.2015
20/2015
Civil courts assess the recommendations made by the BfR in the EHEC crisis in 2011 as lawful EHEC - enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli, zoonoses
24.07.2014
20/2014
EHEC, salmonella etc: new method helps to identify the causes of disease outbreaks campylobacter , EHEC - enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli, salmonella , salmonella
20.05.2014
11/2014
Raw milk: boiling protects against infections campylobacter , food infection , raw milk , salmonella
08.10.2012
32/2012
Outbreak of acute vomiting with diarrhoea in children and youths over, cause identified food safety , noroviruses
05.10.2012
31/2012
A batch of deep-frozen strawberries is probably the cause of a major outbreak of acute vomiting with diarrhoea in children and young adults in the eastern federal states food safety , noroviruses
30.03.2012
14/2012
Blowing and painting Easter eggs - but properly, please!
23.12.2011
45/2011
EHEC outbreak 2011: summary from a risk assessment perspective EHEC - enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli, zoonoses
29.05.2009
11/2009
Farm visit without stomach pains
06.03.2008
04/2008
Exercise caution when blowing out Easter eggs
17.12.2007
22/2007
How to ensure that Christmas cookies don't cause stomach ache - Tips on how to avoid Salmonella infections
10.07.2007
11/2007
Risk of trichinosis from locally produced raw sausages from Eastern Europe
21.06.2007
08/2007
No regrets when barbecuing: Pay attention to hygiene and correct preparation of food
12.09.2006
26/2006
Observe hygiene rules when preparing poultry meat!

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Publikationen - BfR-Wissenschaft

 (1)
Date Title Size
15.05.2012
BfR-Wissenschaft 03/2012
EHEC Outbreak 2011 - Investigation of the Outbreak Along the Food Chain 6.3 MB
PDF-File

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