A new study into food disease outbreaks indicates that salads and greens are responsible for more cases of food poisoning than any other. However, the study also indicates that food poisoning cases from poultry are more severe.
The study has been conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), collaboration between the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and ConAgra Foods, and it is called the ‘Home Food Safety program’.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and ConAgra Foods’ Home Food Safety program is dedicated to raising consumer awareness about the seriousness of food poisoning and providing solutions for easily and safely handling food in their own kitchens.
The study indicates that over nine million U.S. citizens are affected by food poisoning each year. Whilst the majority of cases arise for improperly washed salads, the most serious food poisoning cases come from poultry, as the report summarizes: “We found most illnesses were attributed to plant commodities and most deaths to land animal commodities.”
Of the nine million cases, after eating contaminated food at least 128,000 Americans are hospitalized, and 3,000 die.
A spokesperson from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and ConAgra Foods, Rachel Begun, said that U.S. consumers should not avoid salads or greens for these are essential for a healthy diet: "Safe food-handling procedures can help protect you from foodborne illnesses while still allowing you to enjoy these tasty and nutritious foods."
Begun also provided some tips for the preparation of vegetables: “One of the most important things you can do to stay healthy is to wash your hands thoroughly for 20 seconds with soap and water, especially when it comes to the particularly nasty norovirus.”
The study indicated that norovirus accounted for 46 percent of the illnesses. The second major cause was bacterial infections.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and ConAgra Foods have set up a website offering advice to consumers and tips to prepare food safely.
Meanwhile, the CDC survey has been published in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases and it is titled “Attribution of Foodborne Illnesses, Hospitalizations, and Deaths to Food Commodities by using Outbreak Data, United States, 1998–2008”.