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Sick from eating? Food in Germany is safer than expected

Sick from eating? Food in Germany is safer than expected



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Hardly any deaths from food-borne diseases in Germany

According to the farmers' association of Lower Saxony, food is much safer than is often assumed. Nevertheless, there are always new laws and regulations on food law, the association criticizes. However, there are very good reasons to limit the risk of food-borne outbreaks.

As the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) explains on its website, foodborne diseases are caused “by eating food that is contaminated (contaminated) with infectious pathogens (bacteria, viruses, parasites) or toxins. A large number of pathogens and toxins can trigger food-borne illnesses. “In Germany, you don't have to worry too much about that. According to experts, food is much safer than is often assumed.

5,000 deaths from foodborne diseases annually

As the farmers 'association Landvolk Niedersachsen wrote in a communication, consumers' perceptions of food safety are clearly in contradiction to the actual circumstances. The discussion on this takes up a fairly wide area, but in fact there is hardly any reason to be justified.

The association refers to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), which puts the annual deaths from diseases that have been transmitted through the consumption of contaminated food or "foodborne diseases" (FBD) at a total of around 420,000 worldwide.

For Europe, the WHO reports a total of 5,000 cases. Road accidents would kill five times as many people each year.

Most serious case of contamination from contaminated food

According to the information, there was not a single documented death in 2015 due to the consumption of contaminated food in Germany. There were four in 2016, as well as in 2017, according to a report by the Federal Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL). It also shows that there were at least 2,277 illnesses and 412 hospitalizations in 2017 due to food-borne outbreaks.

As the Landfolk of Lower Saxony explains, the most serious case of infection by contaminated food in the Federal Republic dates from 2011. The cause at that time was Enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) bacteria.

According to the information, the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), the Federal Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL) and the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) identified contaminated organic sprout seeds from Egypt as a source of infection. In the EHEC epidemic, 53 people died, around 4,000 fell ill, over 800 of whom died.

Infections can be dangerous

"On the other hand, there are always new regulations and provisions of the legislator on food law," criticizes the state farmers' association of Lower Saxony.

However, there are very good reasons to limit the risk of food-borne outbreaks. After all, such diseases can not only be accompanied by relatively harmless symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain, but can also have serious consequences.

According to the RKI, for example, premature and stillbirths can occur in pregnant women as part of an infection with listeria.

And: "In very rare cases, infections with Campylobacter can lead to Guillain-Barré syndrome with symptoms of paralysis, infections with enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) can lead to the development of a life-threatening hemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS)," said the experts. (ad)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.



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