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A risky-foods list probably isn't meant as a slam against vegetables

October 7, 2009 |  9:55 am
Lettuce Alas, "good for you" doesn't mean "safe for you." Perhaps there's no way it could, not completely, but that doesn't stop the Center for Science in the Public Interest from trying to make the terms more similar...

Using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the nutrition and health advocacy organization has released a report on what it calls the riskiest foods regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.

The top 10 foods, with the number of outbreaks and reported cases of illness (there were likely more, the organization says), between 1990 and 2006:

  • Leafy greens, 363 outbreaks, 13,568 illnesses
  • Eggs, 352 outbreaks, 11,163 illnesses
  • Tuna, 268 outbreaks, 2,341 illnesses
  • Oysters, 132 outbreaks, 3,409 illnesses
  • Potatoes, 108 outbreaks, 3,659 illnesses
  • Cheese, 83 outbreaks, 2,761 illnesses
  • Ice cream, 74 outbreaks, 2,594 illnesses
  • Tomatoes, 31 outbreaks, 3,292 illnesses
  • Sprouts, 31 outbreaks, 2,022 illnesses
  • Berries, 25 outbreaks, 3,397 illnesses
  • These 10 foods, the organization says, have been responsible for 40% of all food-borne outbreaks in that time frame -- for a total of 50,000 cases of reported illnesses.

    Here's the full report. And its larger point, as stated in the group's press release: "The presence of so many healthy foods on such a list is exactly why the United States Senate should follow the House and pass legislation that reforms our fossilized food safety laws." 
    And here are some tips on food safety as it relates to produce, courtesy the Chicago Tribune. As the tips deal only with produce, there's nothing about ice cream. Washing produce thoroughly, however, is likely to make it both good and safe for you.

    -- Tami Dennis

    Photo: The presence of leafy greens at the top of this list is personally painful.

    Credit: Associated Press