07 October 2009

Leafy greens top risky food list

Leafy greens head a list of the top 10 riskiest foods regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration.


Leafy greens head a list of the top 10 riskiest foods regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration, a report released by a public advocacy group says.

The 10 types of foods included in the list account for nearly 40% of all foodborne illness outbreaks linked to FDA-regulated foods since 1990, according to the report from the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

Unfortunately, the list includes some of the healthiest and most popular foods consumed by Americans, the report authors noted.

More than 1,500 separate, definable outbreaks that caused almost 50,000 illnesses were linked to these 10 foods, the report found. The illnesses ranged from gastrointestinal distress to long-term disability and death.

The top 10 riskiest foods
The report, based on US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, says the top 10 riskiest foods regulated by the FDA are:

  • Leafy greens: 363 outbreaks involving 13,568 reported cases of illness.
  • Eggs: 352 outbreaks with 11,163 reported cases of illness.
  • Tuna: 268 outbreaks with 2,341 reported cases of illness.
  • Oysters: 132 outbreaks with 3,409 reported cases of illness.
  • Potatoes: 108 outbreaks with 3,659 reported cases of illness.
  • Cheese: 83 outbreaks with 2,761 reported cases of illness.
  • Ice cream: 74 outbreaks with 2,594 reported cases of illness.
  • Tomatoes: 31 outbreaks with 3,292 reported cases of illness.
  • Sprouts: 31 outbreaks with 2,022 reported cases of illness.
  • Berries: 25 outbreaks with 3,397 reported cases of illness.

Pathogens typically associated with meat and poultry – such as salmonella and E. coli 0157:H7 – have been repeatedly linked with outbreaks caused by these 10 types of foods. In fact, salmonella was the culprit in 33% of outbreaks involving the foods in the report. Along with salmonella and E. coli, other pathogens causing outbreaks associated with these foods include Campylobacter, Scombrotoxin, Norovirus and Vibrio.

The report noted that foodborne illness outbreaks are becoming more common because of a complex, globalised food system, outdated food safety laws, and the rise of large-scale production and processing.

(HealthDay News, October 2009)

Read more: Main food-poisoning culprits


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