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This Is the New No. 1 Cause of Food Poisoning, CDC Study Says

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A CDC study has uncovered that there may be some surprising new items in your kitchen that could lead to food poisoning.
It's common knowledge that handling or preparing certain foods the wrong way can get you pretty sick if you eat them. Typically, this involves washing fruit and veggies before cooking them, storing items at the appropriate temperature, and being sure to clean surfaces and your hands when they've been in contact with raw ingredients. But now, a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has uncovered that there may be some new surprising items in your kitchen that could lead to food poisoning.

The comprehensive research, released in the CDC's Emerging Infectious Diseases journal on Sept. 8, examined data from the Foodborne Disease Outbreak Surveillance System (FDOSS) that is used to collect reports of foodborne disease outbreaks from federal, state, local, and territorial health departments across the United States. Researchers tabulated outbreaks recorded between 2007 and 2016, which they describe as "nationally notifiable and defined as two or more cases of a similar illness resulting from ingestion of the same food." Items that were the source of outbreaks were then compared with outbreak data from 1973 to 2006 to determine which "novel" foods were responsible for reported illnesses in more recent years.

Results found that there were 36 outbreaks linked to 28 novel foods between 2007 and 2016, with the largest involving 272 illnesses reported across 45 states. The most commonly reported foodborne pathogens were salmonella and E. coli, which were responsible for 53 percent and 14 percent of cases, respectively. The agency also noted that 33 percent of the outbreaks were caused by foods imported from another country, half did not require refrigeration after purchase, and two-thirds did not require cooking before consumption.

According to experts, such findings could mean that it may be ultimately tricky or impossible to remove the risk of foodborne illness altogether from some of the items on the list. "I think the main takeaway is to…
Zachary Mack
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