Most foodborne illness outbreaks are from non-produce food items, according to a new report from the Alliance for Food and Farming. The report, which analyzes Centers for Disease Control data associated with foodborne illness outbreaks, found that from 1990 to 2007:
- 88 percent of foodborne illness outbreaks were from non-produce food items. (See examples here and here.)
- 12 percent of all foodborne illness outbreaks were associated with produce.
- Of this 12 percent, more than 10 percent were associated with improper handling of produce after leaving the farm. For instance, 65 percent of outbreaks traced back to a produce item can be attributed to improper handling in a restaurant, most likely the result of cross contamination or improper employee hygiene. Mishandling at community events caused 14 percent of the produce-related outbreaks, followed by mishandling in the home –which represents 13 percent of outbreaks associated with produce.
- 2 percent of produce-related outbreaks were associated with the growing, packing, shipping or processing of produce.
This is the second time the Alliance for Food and Farming has conducted a review of the CDC databases. The first review, based on data from 1990 through 2004, resulted in similar findings, indicating that illnesses associated with produce are still low despite some recent outbreaks. (more…)