Published on Feb 04, 2011 with 1 comment
Even though food allergies seem to be constantly in the news, there are actually more common and preventable food related illnesses. These illnesses are caused by eating unwashed and/or poorly cooked common foods contaminated with dangerous bacteria and other pathogens. According to a recently released study from The Center for Science in the Public Interest, “millions of consumers are being made ill, hundreds of thousands hospitalized and thousands are dying each year from preventable foodborne illnesses.” The top ten riskiest foods in terms of outbreaks were identified as leafy greens, eggs, tuna, oysters, potatoes, cheese, ice cream, tomatoes, sprouts and berries.
The top cause of illness in leafy greens such as lettuce are pathogens like E. coli, Norovirus and Salmonella. Salmonella was also a chief culprit in egg, cheese and tomato-related illnesses, the study said, in cases when eggs are undercooked and when cheese is not processed properly. The study also associated Salmonella and E. coli with potatoes. Proper washing and cooking are essential in reducing the risks of eating contaminated foods, in many cases.
The top 10 affected foods resulted in more than 1,500 outbreaks, totaling nearly 50,000 reported illnesses, according to the center, which added that most food-related illnesses don’t get treated or reported, so the real total is likely much larger.