On Tuesday Feb. 24, a new list of foods with the highest risk of pathogen infestation was released by the U.S government.
Out of all the analyzed E.coli cases, more than 80 % were linked to beef and vegetables cultivated in rows. Salmonella infections were caused by various foods like tomatoes, sprouts and meat coming from chicken, beef and pork.
Under the name of Interagency Food Safety Analytics Collaboration, three departments teamed up in order to make this report: U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Never before have three federal food agencies used a single method of determining and analyzing possible sources of foodborne illnesses. This step was taken right after President Obama’s proposal for a single food agency, one of the items in his 2016 federal budget plan.
This report was conducted using information gathered from 1,000 outbreaks that took place between 1998 and 2012 in order to determine which foods are responsible for illnesses caused by infections with one of the four main foodborne bacteria: Salmonella, Escherichia coli O157 (E. coli O157), Listeria monocytogenes and Campylobacter.
The CDC states that these four types of bacteria cause a total of 1.9 million foodborne illnesses annually.
The team took all the cases and categorized them according to 17 foods. They observed that only two types of food categories caused most of the Campylobacter, E. coli O157 and Listeria illnesses. There were also 7 food categories responsible for a similar percentage of Salmonella infestations.
Results showed that 74% of Campylobacter illnesses were linked to the consumption of dairy (66%) or chicken (8%). The team also found that E.coli O157 illnesses were caused by the consumption of beef (46%) or vegetables cultivated in rows (36%) and that 81 % of Listeria illnesses were the result of fruit (50%) or dairy (31%) consumption.
Salmonella illnesses seem to be caused by a wider range of food products. 77% of such illnesses were linked to vegetables cultivated from seeds (18%), eggs (12%), fruits (12%), chicken (10%), sprouts (8%), beef (9%) and pork (8%).
Image Source: Food Poison Journal