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CDC Warn Poultry, Greens and Dairy are the Most Dangerous Foods

CDC Warn Poultry, Greens and Dairy are the Most Dangerous Foods

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First Posted: Jan 29, 2013 11:28 AM EST
Food
A simple, family meal each day may reduce the risk of obesity in teens. Scientists have found that family meals during adolescence were protective for overweight and obesity in adulthood. (Photo : Flickr)

A salad with chicken and cheese may be one of the most dangerous food choices you'll ever make. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released a study that reported that leafy greens were the cause of the most food-borne illnesses nationwide while dairy products accounted for the most hospitalizations and poultry was linked to the most deaths.

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The CDC looked at a 10-year period through 2008, examining 4,887 outbreaks that caused 128,269 illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths. They found that leafy greens accounted for 23 percent of illnesses, while dairy products accounted for 14 percent. However, the main culprit for hospitalizations was dairy products, which was responsible for 16 percent. Leafy greens caused 14 percent while poultry caused 12 percent. However, poultry came in first when it came to food-related deaths. It accounted for 19 percent while dairy products came out at 10 percent.

You shouldn't panic, though. The overall number of deaths caused by food was relatively small. A total of 277 people died from food-borne illnesses linked to poultry, while a further 140 died from illnesses linked to dairy projects over the 10-year span.

These findings aren't necessarily useful to consumers; they can't predict when or where an outbreak will occur. In addition, data for items like dairy are somewhat misleading. Many of the outbreaks concerning dairy were associated with unpasteurized milk, cheese and cream. Most of the public, though, consumes only pasteurized dairy products. However, these statistics are crucial for regulatory agencies and the food industry. This research shows exactly where they can concentrate their efforts to make food safer for the public.

Currently, the implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act is underway. This act requires that the Food and Drug Administration focus their regulatory efforts on the highest-risk food products. Before this study, these products were hard to identify.

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