On April 28, 2011 the University of Florida’s Emerging Pathogens Institute released information regarding the top 10 sources of food borne illnesses. The hope is that those in charge of protecting us from such food borne illnesses will use the information to help prevent outbreaks. Unfortunately to date their efforts have not been coordinated and thus are not as effective as they could be.
According to Michael Batz, who is the main author of the report, “Government agencies must work together to effectively target their efforts. If we don’t identify which pairs of foods and microbes present the greatest burden, we’ll waste time and resources and put even more people at risk.”
Currently the top 10 food pathogen combinations are responsible for economic losses of 8 billions dollars annually from lost work days, medical costs, and severe disabilities caused by illness.
Here are some of the highlights pulled directly from the report:
- POULTRY contaminated with Camplylobacter bacteria topped the list, sickening more than 600,000 Americans at a cost of $1.3 billion per year.
- Salmonella in POULTRY also ranks in the Top 10, with $700 million due to costs of illness.
- Salmonella is the leading disease-causing bug overall, causing more than $3 billion in disease burden annually.
- In addition to POULTRY, Salmonella-contaminated PRODUCE, EGGS and multi-ingredient foods all rank in the Top 10.
- Four combinations in the Top 10 – Listeria in deli MEATS and soft CHEESES, and Toxoplasma in PORK and BEEF – pose serious risks to pregnant women and developing fetuses, causing stillbirth or infants born with irreversible mental and physical disabilities.
While a vegan diet is not immune to food poisoning, I found it interesting that 8 out of the 9 foods mentioned were animal based foods with poultry mentioned 3 times…4 if you count eggs. We can drastically reduce our exposure to these food borne illnesses by simply eliminating our consumption of animal based foods.
To read the results of the study directly from the University of Florida, click here.
Salmonella image courtesy of ifood.tv
9 responses to “FOOD POISONING – Top 10 Sources”
Indeed – and of the food poisioning that does come from plant foods most of it is due to cross contamination from animals. Either in the home or as a result of toxic run off from factory farms.
Yes its true ;-(
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“We can drastically reduce our exposure to these food borne illnesses by simply eliminating our consumption of animal based foods.”
OR, we could drastically reduce our exposure by being more careful with our animal based products. I don’t believe that we should simply eliminate our consumption of said foods. It’s not the answer or cure all. Certainly, I do not plan to stop eating meat because of the potential food borne illnesses. That’s like saying I am not going to walk across the street because I may get hit by a car.
It should be a choice, not because we are scared we might be poisoned – in my opinion.
I certainly don’t want people to make choices based upon fear…that’s never a good way to make decisions. Whether someone eats meat or not is a very personal choice and I respect the fact that it is each person’s choice, i.e. I do not force my views upon my children when it comes to meat. My daughter doesn’t really like meat, but my son LOVES it.
I agree that if people are going to eat meat they need to be very conscious of where they buy it, how they handle it, and how they prepare it.
Thanks for your comments.
chicken is the one thing I treat with caution at all times!
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It’s well and good preparing meat in a hygienic and safe manner, but what about if you eat out? Or order food? We have no control over how food is prepared when someone else is cooking it, especially when you can’t even see it being prepared. We once ordered 2 vegetarian pizzas, and both of us ended up as sick as dogs 🙁
Bummer! Good poisoning is the worst.