Dave Stancliff Study outlines a perfect storm of unsafe food blogarama.com

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Study outlines a perfect storm of unsafe food

Good Day World!

American consumers have been deluged with reports of contaminated food in recent years, from salmonella in peanut butter and spinach to E. coli in cookie dough and ground beef.

A Center for Science in the Public Interest report found that the top 7 riskiest foods regulated by the federal Food and Drug Administration accounted for nearly 40 percent of all foodborne outbreaks in the U.S. between 1990 and 2006, spawning nearly 50,000 illnesses with symptoms ranging from stomach cramps and diarrhea to kidney failure and death.

Using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, researchers tracked more than 1,500 separate, definable outbreaks involving not only high-risk foods like meat and dairy, but staples of a healthy diet, such as fruits and vegetables.

These outbreaks are only the tip of the iceberg of foodborne illness. For every case of salmonella poisoning reported, for instance, the CDC estimates that another 38 cases go unreported.

#1 - Leafy Greens

Can salad really be bad for you? Although considered a healthy food, nutritious greens can also be coated in disease-causing germs.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest identified 363 separate outbreaks linked to leafy greens, making them the No. 1 entry on the top 10 list of riskiest FDA-regulated foods.

#2 - Tuna

Many consumers are familiar with warnings about tuna and methylmercury, but the fish has also been implicated in 268 outbreaks and 2,341 reported cases of foodborne illness. Tuna has been linked to scombroid, the illness caused by scombrotoxin.

#3 Oysters

Contaminated oysters can ruin more than just a gourmet dinner. Oysters have been linked to 132 outbreaks, with 3,409 reported cases of illness. Not surprisingly, the majority of outbreaks from oysters occurred in restaurants. Illnesses from oysters occur primarily from two sources: norovirus and vibrio.

#4 Cheese

Cheese has been linked to 83 outbreaks involving 2,761 reported cases of illness since 1990, with salmonella the most common hazard. Cheese can become contaminated with pathogens during production or processing.

Most cheeses are now made with pasteurized milk, lowering the risk of contamination. In August, California officials warned consumers about eating Latin American-style cheeses such as queso fresco or queso Oaxaca, which may be made by unlicensed manufacturers using unpasteurized milk that could contain harmful bacteria.

#5 Ice Cream

Whether served in a cone or in a cup, America's favorite frozen treat occasionally can carry a load of dangerous bacteria. Ice cream has been linked to 74 outbreaks involving 2,594 reported cases of illness from pathogens such as salmonella and staphylcoccus since 1990. Soft ice cream can be particularly hazardous to pregnant women.

Listeria can survive on metal surfaces — such as the interior of soft ice cream machines — and may contaminate batch after batch of products.

#6 Sprouts

Sprouts are a popular way to add crunch to salads and in Asian dishes. As the popularity of sprouts increases, however, so too does the potential for foodborne illnesses.

Sprouts have been implicated in 31 outbreaks involving 2,022 reported cases of illness since 1990. The CDC and the FDA recommended in 1999 that people at high risk for complications from salmonella and E. coli — such as the elderly, young children, and those with compromised immune systems — not eat raw sprouts.

#7 Berries

Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and other berry products have caused 25 outbreaks and sickened 3,397 since 1990.

In 1997, more than 2.6 million pounds of contaminated strawberries were recalled after thousands of students across several states reported illnesses from eating frozen strawberries in their school lunches.

Hepatitis A was the culprit, and contamination may have occurred through an infected farm worker, according to the CSPI report.

Condensed version from Center for Science in the Public Interest

Food safety

  1. Raw milk sickened scores, despite inspection
  2. Contaminated ground turkey found in 21 states
  3. Contaminated cucumbers sicken 73
  4. Mini quesadillas, pizza recalled over E. coli fears

Time for me to walk on down the road…

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