A brand new evaluation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention could have you rethinking some features of your healthy food plan.
The CDC investigated the causes of “outbreaks” by which two or extra folks get the identical illness after eating a typical food. Realizing that contaminated food is the reason for 9.4 million diseases annually — and has been blamed for 5,760 separate outbreaks that resulted in 100,939 diseases, 5,699 hospitalizations and 145 deaths from 2009 to 2015, the final yr for which authorities statistics can be found — the CDC determined to take a better look.
No different food, it seems, is sort of as problematic as hen — the heart-healthy various to purple meat.
Though fish and dairy technically precipitated extra “outbreaks,” hen sickened the most folks — some 3,113 folks over the examine interval, to be precise. Other seemingly healthy meals — pork and seeded greens — ranked second and third most widespread sources of foodborne illness, inflicting 2,670 and 2,572 diseases, respectively.
It’s sufficient to make you pine for Twinkies.
“Chicken is a reservoir for salmonella,” explains Thomas Gremillion, director of the Food Policy Institute on the Consumer Federation of America. Though correct cooking can kill most salmonella strains, regular food preparation methods — like utilizing a sponge to clear up spills or rinsing your chicken in the sink — have a tendency to unfold the bug round your kitchen, he says. That can “cross-contaminate” your sink, reducing boards and greens.
Overall, three kinds of micro organism — listeria, salmonella, and Shiga toxin-producing E. coli — had been chargeable for 82 p.c of all hospitalizations and deaths reported.
To make certain, norovirus — not salmonella — is the most widespread foodborne ailment. However, this virus can infect just about any food. It is most usually handed into uncooked and ready-to-eat meals by contaminated food service staff. (Don’t eat at a restaurant the place the waiter or prepare dinner does not wash after utilizing the services. Believe me, you don’t need to know extra.)
The FDA and native health inspectors can crack down on eating places that do not preserve excessive cleanliness requirements. However, Gremillion says the federal government might do much more to make hen safer to eat, like require hen vaccinations or shut down breeders which have excessive charges of salmonella.
“This CDC report shows that government inspectors and industry need to do more to protect consumers from unsafe chicken,” says Gremillion. “Rather than focusing on schemes to boost industry profits — such as eliminating slaughterhouse line speed limits — we should be talking about why the U.S. lags so far behind other countries on issues like addressing salmonella contamination in poultry, and what can be done to avoid some of these illnesses and the havoc they wreak on families.”
A spokesman for the National Chicken Council squawks on the Consumer Federation’s criticism. “Outside of maybe the nuclear energy industry, the U.S. meat and poultry industry is one of the most heavily regulated industries in the United States — to say otherwise is either disingenuous or represents a gross misunderstanding of how the industry operates,” the spokesman says, citing not too long ago “modernized poultry inspection systems” which have helped cut back salmonella on hen components by 20% over the previous three years. “Given that Americans eat about 160 million servings of chicken every day, the vast majority of consumers are cooking and handling chicken properly and having a safe experience.”
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