Top 5 Takeaways

  1. Decrease in Reported Infections: In 2021, infections reported to the Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet) decreased by 8% compared to the 2016–2018 average.
  2. Prevalent Pathogens: Most infections were caused by Campylobacter or Salmonella, with the five most common Salmonella serotypes remaining predominant.
  3. Increased Use of CIDTs: The use of culture-independent diagnostic tests (CIDTs) increased, complicating the interpretation of surveillance trends.
  4. Hospitalizations and Deaths: The number of hospitalizations and deaths due to these infections remained stable.
  5. Public Health Implications: Comprehensive efforts are needed to improve food safety and achieve national goals, especially for Salmonella and Campylobacter infections.

Original Article Author and Citation

Corresponding Author

Jennifer P. Collins,

Suggested Citation

Collins JP, Shah HJ, Weller DL, et al. Preliminary Incidence and Trends of Infections Caused by Pathogens Transmitted Commonly Through Food — Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network, 10 U.S. Sites, 2016–2021. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2022;71:1260–1264. DOI:


The report details the preliminary 2021 data on foodborne infections from 10 U.S. sites. It was observed that the incidence of infections caused by certain pathogens, like Salmonella, decreased, while others like Cyclospora, Yersinia, and Vibrio increased. The pandemic’s impact, through behavioral modifications and public health interventions, likely influenced these trends. The report also highlights the ongoing challenge in achieving the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Healthy People 2030 goals, particularly concerning Salmonella and Campylobacter infections.


FoodNet’s surveillance system involves active population-based surveillance for various pathogens. The 2021 data was analyzed using a new Bayesian, negative binomial model, accounting for state-specific trends and population changes over time. The report includes data on hospitalizations, deaths, and specific characteristics of the infections, such as the percentage associated with international travel.


The report discusses the complexities introduced by the increased use of CIDTs, which have high sensitivity but might not indicate viable organisms. The persistence of five Salmonella serotypes over a decade emphasizes the need for targeted measures to address food contamination. The report also notes the challenges in achieving HHS Healthy People 2030 goals and the necessity for comprehensive food safety efforts.


There’s a need for sustained and novel strategies to decrease foodborne infections and meet public health goals. The ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on infection reporting and the increasing reliance on CIDTs highlight the importance of reflex cultures and public health surveillance in understanding and combating these infections.


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