European Food Borne Disease Statistics 2021

In 2021 there was an overall increase in reported cases of zoonotic diseases and foodborne outbreaks compared to the previous year, but levels are still well below those of the pre-pandemic years, reveals the latest annual EU One Health zoonosis report released by EFSA and ECDC.

The general drop compared to pre-pandemic years in reported cases and outbreaks is probably linked to COVID-19 control measures, which were still in place in 2021. Among the few exceptions are the number of cases for yersiniosis and those of foodborne listeriosis outbreaks, which exceeded pre-pandemic levels.

The most frequent cause of foodborne outbreaks was Salmonella, which accounted for 19.3% (773) of the total. Foodborne outbreaks differ from overall reported disease cases in that they are events in which at least two people contract the same illness from the same contaminated food. The most common sources of salmonellosis outbreaks were eggs, egg products, and “mixed foods”, which are meals composed of various ingredients.

The number of outbreaks caused by Listeria monocytogenes (23) was the highest ever reported. This might be linked to the increased use of whole genome sequencing techniques, which allow scientists to better detect and define outbreaks.

EFSA is also publishing several interactive communication tools:

Foodborne outbreaks report 2020 | EFSA (

Foodborne Outbreaks story map (