Epidemiology and Foodborne Illness

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Epidemiology has long played a critical role in investigating outbreaks of foodborne illness and in identifying the microbial pathogens associated with such illness. Epidemiologists were the detectives who would track down the guilty culprit- the food vehicle carrying the pathogen, as well as the fateful errors that resulted in contamination or multiplication of pathogens. The first book of its kind, this volume describes the various ways epidemiologic principles are applied to meet the challenges of maintaining a safe food supply. It addresses both the prevention and control of food borne illness. Starting with a history and background of food borne illness, the book continues by describing the means of following up on an outbreak and measuring exposures. The book concludes by describing the regulatory context that shapes food safety activities at the local, national and international levels. Chapters are written by leaders in the field of public health and food safety, including experts in epidemiology, microbiology, risk assessment, economics, and environmental health and policy. This is the definitive book for students, researchers and professionals interested in how epidemiology plays a role in keeping our food safe.

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Editorial Reviews

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Radford Davis, DVM, MPH (Iowa State University)
Description: This book covers the broad topic of food safety and related subtopics from an epidemiologic perspective, lending a fresh perspective to an important field. While traditional epidemiological areas such as outbreak investigations and tracebacks are covered, the book also addresses risk assessment, data quality, and consumption patterns, in addition to more traditional topics such as HACCP, that anyone involved with keeping safe a food supply or working within the public health field would find very useful.
Purpose: The purpose is to familiarize readers with the importance of epidemiological principles in food safety, beyond the traditional role of outbreak investigations, and to apply them to such areas as prevention, policy, and risk assessment. This is a simple extension of what epidemiology is capable of and makes for sound science in meeting the needs of food safety today. The contributing authors do an overall fine job of meeting the objectives.
Audience: The book is written for epidemiologists unfamiliar with food safety and for food safety professionals unfamiliar with epidemiology. While epidemiologists will find some of the chapters more of a review, other chapters cover topics with which epidemiologists may not be readily familiar, such as risk assessment and food processing. It would also be very useful to students of food safety, including veterinary students. The editor and major author carries both the credentials and food safety experience necessary to lend authority to this book.
Features: Although the book covers some topics one might expect in a text on food safety, it also offers readers an argument of epidemiology's greater role in food safety through chapters on risk assessment, surveillance, societal costs of food-borne illnesses, measuring intake of contaminants, and the application of chronic disease epidemiological principles to food safety. Chapters on food processing, production, handling, and preparation are lean, but such topics are covered at great length in other books. The uniqueness of this book lies in how it demonstrates that epidemiology is inextricably linked to nearly all aspects of food safety, not just food-borne illness investigations. The editor purposefully steers clear of the topic of intentional contamination of food. Overall, the book would benefit from the inclusion of more and better quality illustrations and expanded discussions on food processing and production. There are a few typos. The use of case studies in the discussion of foodborne outbreaks is helpful and reflective of real-world events.
Assessment: This book offers a unique take on the field of food safety and makes us rethink how we should approach it. Despite some minor redundancy with other books in the areas of foodborne pathogens and food processing (Foodborne Microorganisms of Public Health Significance, 6th edition, Hocking (AIFST, 2003) and Food Safety: Old Habits, New Perspectives (ASM Press, 2007)) as well as in general epidemiological principles, this book is worth purchasing for its unique ability to conflate epidemiology and food safety into a meaningful, convincing, and concise volume.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195172638
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 3/29/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 1,263,306
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword   Allen J. Wilcox     v
Contributors     xvii
Introduction and Background   Tamar Lasky     3
Infectious Agents   A. Mahdi Saeed   Rilba Naji     18
Surveillance and Description   Luenda E. Charles   Tamar Lasky     40
Vehicles, Sources, Risk Factors, and Causes   Tamar Lasky     64
Food as Exposure: Measuring Dietary Intake and Consumption Patterns   Nga L. Tran   Leila Barraj     76
Managing a FoodBorne Outbreak   Tamar Lasky     96
Epidemiologic Study Designs   Tamar Lasky     122
Data Quality   Tamar Lasky     139
Risk Assessment   Steven A. Anderson   Sherri B. Dennis     160
Food Production and Processing   James C. Kile     177
Food Handling and Preparation   Charles Higgins     197
The Economic Context   Tanya Roberts     216
The Regulatory Environment   Sean Altekruse     230
Index     245
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