Here are some facts and statistics on food poisoning that will give you an idea about the scope of the problem.

Food poisoning facts

  1. Although vegetables sicken more people than meat, the pathogens found on meat products tend to be more deadly than those found in vegetables. (Tomson, 2013)
  2. A 2011 study that was the first of its kind to examine the nation’s supply of beef, chicken, pork and poultry really drives home the importance of proper sanitation and cooking habits: It found staff bacteria, including MRSA, in nearly half the samples. Worse yet, because of the antibiotics fed to animals, most of these strains of bacteria were resistant to one or more types of antibiotics. (Time, May 7,2011, p. 27)

How common is food poisoning? The prevalence of foodborne illness

It’s hard to get accurate statistics on food poisoning, because many people who get it don’t report it, and some who have it don’t realize it was the food that made them sick.

  1. According to the World Health Organization, around 600 million people suffer food poisoning each year, and around 420,000 die from it.
  2. Around 76 million people in the United States get sick every year from food borne illness.
  3. A different estimate puts this number lower at 50 million annual cases, affecting roughly 1 in 6 Americans.
  4. The CDC estimates that 325,000-350,000 Americans are hospitalized each year from preventable food borne illness, and 5,000 die. Yet CDC director Thomas Frieden says more recent studies have estimated 128,000 hospitalizations yearly and 3,000 deaths in the U.S. (Vergano, 6-8-2011)
  5. Food poisoning cases have dropped by nearly a quarter in the past decade and a half, though salmonella cases saw a 10% rise. (Vergano, 6-8-2011)
  6. Only 60% of people search their kitchens for tainted or recalled products, according to the Food Policy Institute at Rutgers University.

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