Almost everybody will experience a food- or waterborne disease during his life. Most of these events are self limiting with mild symptoms. However, each year more than 300.000 patients are admitted to an European hospital from which at least 600 patients will die. Even in Holland, a country with high food safety standards, the estimated incidence of foodborne diseases is more than 700.000 cases each year. Leading to a considerable burden of disease and annually at least €400 million extra costs.
As foodborne diseases are a growing public health problem both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the ECDC launches different initiatives highlighting the challenges and opportunities associated with food safety. Furthermore, to protect consumer health and interests the European Parliament and Council adopted since 2002 different directives and regulations. Nowadays there are a lot of food safety criteria guaranteeing a high level of safety at all the stages of the production and distribution process for all food products marketed within the EU.
Despite all these efforts foodborne diseases are still a serious threat to the public health. Especially in case of a worldwide threat by the emergence of multidrugresistant bacteria as the H58 clade of Salmonella Typhi or Campylobacter. This year the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has published a surveillance report about seven priority food- and waterborne disease in the European Union (EU). As summarized in table 1 the most common diseases in 2010-2012 are campylobacteriosis and non-typhoidal salmonellosis. On the other hand we see listeriosis, having a much lower incidence but with the highest hospitalization and case-fatality rate. In 2013 the ECDC reported 5.196 food-borne outbreaks leading to 43.183 cases, 5.946 hospitalisations and 11 deaths. The most important food vehicles were eggs and egg products, mixed food and fish(products).