Convention centers are a frequent hub for outbreaks of foodborne illnesses, and other germs. In fact, there’s a word for it—“con flu” is listed in online glossary UrbanDictionary.com as any illness (foodborne and otherwise) contracted during a convention, conference, tradeshow or other event.
While there’s a certain irony to 100 cases of foodborne illness hitting the Food Safety Summit, an event dedicated to preventing that very incident from happening, it is not an earth-shattering occurrence. Considering one out of every six people in the US falls prey to some food-based bug or other every year, with thousands requiring hospitalization for serious food poisoning, an incident striking a handful of people at an event (none seriously) is small potatoes.
It’s great news to hear no one had to seek medical attention for the foodborne illness that hit the Food Safety Summit. Still, the incident has brought home an important lesson to the food professionals that attended—that foodborne illness can strike anyone, anywhere, and because pathogens like Salmonella, Listeria, E. coli and others never rest, neither can we.