NEWS SCAN: Food safety confidence, global vaccine plan, West Nile in Turkey

May 25, 2012

Survey: 78% somewhat or very confident in safety of US food supply
More than three fourths of Americans are confident about the safety of the US food supply, up from 51% a year ago, according to an annual study by the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation, a food industry communications group. The Web-based survey of 1,057 Americans aged 18 to 80 found that 78% of respondents were somewhat or very confident in the safety of the US food supply and that 85% gave some thought to the safety of their food. In addition, 57% said their chance of getting a foodborne illness from food or drink products was "extremely low," and 17% reported having stopped buying a specific brand or type of food over safety concerns. About half (48%) believed that imported foods are less safe than domestic foods. Respondents ranked home cooks the best for food safety, with 94% reporting they do at least a good job and 44% saying they do an excellent job. That group was followed by farmers in terms of food safety confidence (82% said they did at least a good job), followed by retailers (73%), manufacturers (65%), food service establishments like restaurants (64%), and the government (56%). The study also assessed attitudes toward healthy eating, food processing, and sustainability.
May 23 IFIC Foundation press release
Full survey
Survey executive summary

WHA committee endorses global vaccine plan
A World Health Assembly (WHA) committee today meeting in Geneva approved a resolution endorsing a vision for the Decade of Vaccines along with a Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP), which builds on a 10-year strategy launched in 2005. A host of stakeholders from 140 countries and 290 organizations participated in drafting the plan, which defines what they hope to achieve over the next decade, according to background materials from the World Health Organization (WHO). The plan reviews existing goals and sets new ones, laying out six objectives to achieve them. They include country commitments to making immunization a priority, emphasizing that vaccination is a right and a responsibility, making immunization equitable, strengthening immunization systems, establishing sustained funding, and maximizing innovation. The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) said today in a statement that 3 million children die each year from vaccine-preventable diseases, and that more needs to be done. It lauded the Decade of Vaccines vision and said the GVAP is an ambitious strategy to achieve several immunization goals. The IFMPA added that more work is needed to clarify several issues but said it stands ready to work with partners to achieve GVAP goals. Also, the committee approved a resolution requesting member countries to designate the last week in April as "World Immunization Week." Both resolutions require approval by the full WHA.
May 11 WHO draft global vaccine action plan
May 25 IFPMA statement

Report: West Nile may be endemic in western Turkey
More than 50 cases of West Nile virus (WNV) infection in Turkey in 2010 and 2011 may indicate that the virus has become endemic in part of the country, according to a Eurosurveillance report yesterday. The nation reported 47 cases in 2010 (12 confirmed, 35 probable) in 15 of its 81 provinces, 40 (85%) of which involved neuroinvasive symptoms. Incidence was 0.19 per 100,000 population overall but was highest, at 1.39 per 100,000, in Sakarya province. Cases dropped to 5 (2 confirmed, 3 probable) in 2011, but the authors wrote, "Detection of WNV infections in humans in 2010 and 2011 consecutively, may indicate that WNV has become endemic in the western part of Turkey."
May 24 Eurosurveillance report

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