Friesema IHM, Slegers-Fitz-James IA, Wit B, Franz E
RIVM Report 2018-0088
More outbreaks of food-related infections and food poisoning were recorded in 2017 than in 2016 and 2015. A total of 666 outbreaks affecting 2995 people were reported in 2017, compared to 594 outbreaks and 2731 cases in 2016 and 406 outbreaks and 1850 cases in 2015. It is not clear whether this increase is caused by a genuine rise in food-related outbreaks in the Netherlands or by a higher report rate of outbreaks to the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA).
As in previous years, norovirus remains the key pathogen causing food-related outbreaks, followed by Salmonella and Campylobacter.
The figures come from the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority and the regional and municipal health services. They record and investigate food-related infections and food poisoning to prevent more cases and outbreaks. To do so, they try to get a clear picture within their own field of the contaminated sources and the nature of the pathogens. The Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority examines food, the origin of the suspected food and the places it is sold and prepared. The regional and municipal health services focus on people who have been exposed to contaminated food, working back from them to the possible sources.
The reports received by both bodies are combined and analysed together by the Centre for Infectious Disease Control at RIVM (the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment). This integral approach provides a picture of the causal factors of food-related outbreaks in the Netherlands, the extent to which they occur and any changes and trends over the years. The figures stated however, are bound to be an understatement of the actual number of food-related outbreaks and the numbers of people affected. This is because not everyone who is ill goes to their GP or informs the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority, and/or it remains unclear whether food was the source of the infection.