Food-related diseases affect tens of millions of people and kill thousands. According to federal data, one in six Americans (or 48 million people) is sickened and 3,000 die from foodborne diseases each year. The unfortunate fact is these figures are likely to be far higher, as most food illnesses go unreported. The five pathogens causing the majority of foodborne illnesses that lead to hospitalizations are salmonella, norovirus, Campylobacter, toxoplasma gondii, and E. coli 0157.
Tracking single cases of foodborne illness and investigating outbreaks are critical public health functions.
The main cause of these outbreaks is holes in oversight, health and safety processes in our industrialized food system. Open data-driven innovations have great potential to change how we view food safety.