The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that 48 million Americans, 1 in 6, get a food-borne illness each year. Annually, these illnesses send 128,000 to the hospital and 3,000 die. But often, which food is to blame is unknown.
However the CDC recently released a report that attributes the illness to specific foods. Here are some of their findings:
* Produce, including fruits, nuts, leafy greens, and other vegetables, accounts for nearly half of food-borne illness. Leafy greens, especially, are linked to the norovirus which causes about 20 million cases of the stomach flu each year.
*The most fatal infections are caused by poultry and meat which are associated with salmonella and listeria. Together, meat and poultry accounted for 22% of all food-borne illnesses and 29% of deaths.
* Dairy and eggs followed closely behind and were to blame for 20% of illnesses and 15% of deaths.
* Several of the known illnesses involved foods that had ingredients from several different food categories.
When cooking at home, prevent your chance of a food-borne illness with these simple steps:
*Be sure to wash your vegetables. Also wash your cutting boards and other kitchen utensils properly after use.
* Wash your hands often when preparing food, especially after handling unwashed, raw food.
* Cook raw foods thoroughly.
Source: Painter J, Hoekstra R, Ayers T, et al. Attribution of foodborne illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths to food commodities by using outbreak data, United States, 1998-2008. Emerging Infectious Diseases. March 2013: DOI: 10.3201/eid1903.111866.