Pathogens are becoming more important than they have in the past. This is due to many factors, including the critical segments of the population (young, elderly, pregnant women, and individuals without natural immunity) now make-up 25% of the population. Analytical techniques are refined so that illnesses and their sources can be identified. Obviously, in the past, many sick people either were not treated and it was not proven why they were sick, or, they passed away and their death was termed “due to natural causes.” Also, the types of organisms that cause food-borne diseases of one type or another have increased over the years. At one time, organisms such as E. coli were simply an indicator of unsanitary conditions or fecal material. Now small numbers of certain strains of E. coli can cause severe illnesses and death.
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