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Fresh Produce Leading Cause of Food Poisoning Outbreaks

Posted on in Food Poisoning

By Robert Geimer

food poisoning outbreak, Chicago IL personal injury lawyerWhen you think of food poisoning, you probably think of dirty restaurants and foods like chicken, eggs, or unpasteurized cheese. However, a recent study shows that the leading source of food poisoning is actually caused by fresh fruits and vegetables. In fact, over the last decade, foods like cilantro, cucumbers, cantaloupe, and bell peppers have caused 629 outbreaks and nearly 20,000 foodborne illnesses. Still, the experts at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) say Americans should be eating more of these foods.

How Fruits and Vegetables Cause Food Poisoning

Fruits and vegetables are not typically considered a source for foodborne illness because—on their own—they do not carry much of a risk. But fresh produce can easily be contaminated by soil, water, or feces. Rapid agricultural consolidation and changes in how food is sourced, grown, and distributed only further compounds the issue, creating a situation in which a single outbreak could affect more people than ever before.

Fresh Produce Accounts for Nearly Half of All Outbreaks

A food poisoning outbreak is when two or more individuals become ill from a single food source. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fresh produce accounts for nearly half of all illnesses over the last decade (46 percent). The majority of those illnesses were caused by leafy vegetables, such as lettuce or spinach. Norovirus, a highly contagious virus that can cause inflammation of the stomach and/or intestines, was the most common illness.

Pound for Pound, Meat Still More Likely to Cause Illness

Even though produce was found to cause more illnesses, pound-for-pound, meat products are still more likely to cause illness, the CSPI said. In fact, just behind fresh produce, shellfish caused the most outbreaks, overall. And poultry caused also caused more illnesses than beef or pork. Additionally, most outbreaks start at restaurants (1,283 out of 3,485 investigated outbreaks), which means you are still more likely to come down with food poisoning at a restaurant or other establishment than the produce section of your local grocery store.

Food Poisoning Illness or Fatality? Seek Assistance from an Experienced Attorney

When the negligent actions of an establishment are the cause of foodborne injury or fatality, victims have the right to seek fair compensation. Unfortunately, the source of an illness can be difficult to track down. Moreover, negligent establishments will often do anything they can to avoid paying out to those they have harmed.

The experienced and compassionate attorneys at Tomasik Kotin Kasserman can help investigate the cause and source of your illness, assist in building a case against the responsible parties, and ensure that your rights are protected. Learn more by scheduling your free initial consultation with our skilled Chicago, IL personal injury attorneys. Call us at 312-605-8800 today.

Sources:

http://cspinet.org/new/201512031.html

http://www.prevention.com/food/smart-shopping/food-poisoning-produce-and-vegetables

http://www.cdc.gov/foodborneburden/attribution-1998-2008.html

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