News release: "The tiny organisms that cause foodborne illnessesóbacteria, viruses and othersóare formidable foes. Despite efforts to reduce outbreaks, bacteria like Salmonella, Campylobacter, E. coli and Listeria are pervasive in the environment. Like masters of disguise, they evolve into different strains to adapt to changing surroundings. These microorganisms are collectively referred to as food pathogens. And they do a lot of harm. Every year an estimated 48 million Americans get sick from a foodborne disease, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Despite progress in our understanding of these pathogens, there is a lot that scientists do not yet understand, including where these harmful organisms live, how they survive or multiply in the environment, and whether some geographic locations affect them in unique ways. To answer these and other questions, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is embarking on a five-year collaboration with public and private partners to create a public database of the gene sequences of 100,000 bacteria that have been responsible for outbreaks of foodborne illnesses around the world. Gene sequences are the ordered chemical building blocks that make up the bacteria's DNA."