Lifestyle & Belief

Leafy greens leading cause of food-borne illness, CDC says


A new CDC report said that leafy greens are the leading cause of food-borne illness with poultry the leading cause of food-related death.


Patrick Pleul

Leafy greens like lettuce and spinach are the leading cause of food-borne illness the CDC report claims.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that most food poisoning deaths were linked to poultry but leafy greens were the number one cause of illness.

The same report said that dairy products accounted for the majority of hospitalizations from food poisoning, said USA Today.

The authors insist the new numbers should not dissuade people from eating their vegetables.

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"The vast majority of meals are safe so don't let the numbers for leafy greens keep you from eating vegetables," said senior author Patricia Griffin at the CDC, reported USA Today.

"Eating them is so important to a healthy diet. They're linked to reduced risk of heart attacks, stroke and cancer."

The study used data from nearly 5000 outbreaks that caused just over 128,000 illnesses over a 10-year period until 2008, said Science World Report.

Leafy greens accounted for 23 percent of the illnesses, while dairy accounted for 14 percent, 

About 277 died from poultry in that period and 140 from dairy products.

The Associated Press reported that the CDC estimates that approximately 1 in 6 Americans, or about 48 million people, fall ill with food-borne illnesses each year.

The news agency said that that includes about 3000 deaths and 128,000 hospitalizations per year.

The study was published in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.