Being inundated with news of foodborne outbreaks on a regular basis, I just can’t help but think of the Wizard of Oz …“Lions, tigers, and bears – Oh, My!” At the same time, I always have to remind myself that I’m often reading the exact same news over and over again. Even if someone has added a few creative adjectives that sound even more alarming, the facts are still the same, and it’s still the same outbreak that it was 3 days ago. Yes, there may be more cases that have developed, and there may be more information to report. Yet, headlines like “Mutant E. coli Outbreak,” “Super Toxic,” “Deadliest on Record,” and “Deadly Bacteria Strikes” do tend to be rather alarming.
We’re educated medical professionals, and as veterinarians, we are the only profession that routinely works at the interface between human and animal health. What that means is that AVMA is not always in agreement with human health professionals, and we are not always in agreement with the animal health industry either. The veterinary profession aims to serve public health and animal health and welfare. AVMA’s staff and volunteer leadership routinely monitor reports on foodborne and other infectious disease outbreaks on behalf of our membership.
The latest culprit in a serious foodborne outbreak in Europe is an unusually virulent strain of E. coli that has been linked to vegetables. There are no ties to animal or meat products that we know of…but of course, if anything new develops, have no doubt that AVMA will be at the forefront, armed with information as it becomes available, and ready to tackle any issues that come our way!