Food poisoning is determined by eating contaminated, toxic or spoiled food. The most common infectious organisms are viruses, parasites and bacteria or their toxins. These infectious organisms or their toxins can contaminate food at any point of processing or production. Contamination can also appear at home if food is not correctly handled or cooked. The most common food-borne illnesses include salmonella, listeria, and Escherichia coli, or E. coli.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced a food safety alert on Tuesday, Nov. 20. Consumers were advised to throw out all produce containing romaine lettuce due to a sudden outbreak of E. coli. So far 32 people in the United States have fallen ill from the food-borne bacteria, 13 of whom were hospitalized.
There were 456 food recalls in the U.S. in 2017, down from 764 the previous year. Most recalls are issued as a precaution in order to prevent an epidemic. However, sometimes contamination in food can go unnoticed, leading to hospitalizations and even death. Disturbingly, some companies have knowingly distributed contaminated products, which has led to the nation’s most tragic food-borne illness outbreaks.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that one in six Americans become ill from food-borne diseases each year. About 128,000 people end up hospitalized and 3,000 die. Check out the worst recalls of all time!