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Cases of potentially dangerous foodborne illnesses caused by common bacteria in the United States food supply increased during 2019 compared to the previous three years, according to a new report released Thursday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC estimated that 48 million people get sick from various foodborne illnesses in the United States each year. Of those, approximately 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die.
Experts stressed, however, that the data does not apply to the current pandemic of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.
"There's no evidence right now to support transmission of COVID-19 by our food supply," said Dr. Patricia Griffin, chief of the CDC's enteric, or intestinal, diseases epidemiology branch.
"COVID-19 is caused by a different pathogen, with a different mode of transmission, different biology, different epidemiology," said food safety expert Benjamin Chapman, a professor in the department of agricultural and human sciences at North Carolina State University, who was not involved in the report.