Foodborne disease infection rates tracking down

15 July 2011

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is well on track to meet its aim of reducing illness among New Zealanders caused by major foodborne diseases.

In 2007, the New Zealand Food Safety Authority, now part of MAF, adopted public health goals for the five-year period 2008 -2012. They are:

  • Reducing foodborne Campylobacteriosis by 50 percent
  • Reducing foodborne Salmellosis by 30 percent
  • Ensuring there are no increases in foodborne listeriosis

MAF’s latest Foodborne disease in New Zealand report estimates 3957 cases of foodborne Camplyobacteriosis in 2010 from the national total of 7346 reported cases from all sources. There were an estimated 8652 foodborne cases in 2006.

“MAF will meet its present goal for reducing foodborne Camplyobacteriosis if this trend continues”, says MAF Public Health Principal Adviser Donald Campbell.

Dr Campbell attributes the drop in food-related Campylobacter infections to a joint effort by the Government and the poultry industry under the Campylobacter Risk Management Strategy.

“New Zealand had the highest rate of reported Campylobacter infection in the world. It’s great to see us peg this back significantly, although we cannot ease off in our efforts to reduce the number of sick people.”

The report also shows a declining rate of foodborne Salmonellosis that is tracking to meet MAF’s five-year goal. In 2010, there were an estimated 557 cases of foodborne Salmonellosis, compared with the estimated 658 cases in 2006.

Dr Campbell says the rate of foodborne infection for Listeriosis has remained at around 4.5 per 100,000 of population since 2007, which is in line with MAF’s goals. Eighteen cases of Listeriosis were estimated to be foodborne in 2010.

In addition, the report shows a significant decline in gastroenteritis, with 492 cases reported in 2010, compared with 937 in 2006.

The Institute of Environmental Science and Research produces the Foodborne disease in New Zealand report annually for MAF.

The full report can be found at:

Media contacts:

Dr Donald Campbell, Principal Adviser (Public Health), 04 894 2649 or 029 894 2649
William Minchin, Senor Communications Adviser, 04 894 0164 or 029 894 0164


Last Updated: 15 July 2011

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