"Veggies To Blame For Majority Of Foodborne Illnesses"

"Did you have a nasty case of food poisoning this year? Chances are that fruit or vegetables were the culprit."

"Every year, one in six Americans gets sick from food, 128,000 people are ill enough to go to the hospital for their symptoms, which typically include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Major food recalls and reports of food-related illness seem to be a monthly, if not weekly occurrence, with a bout of illness from contaminated ground beef reported just this week. Over the last three days, Whole Foods Market recalled batches of its Whole Catch Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon, and Sprouters Northwest of Kent, Washington recalled 1953 pounds of alfalfa, clover, brocco sandwich sprouts, and spicy sprouts  due to potential contamination with Listeria. Taking a closer look at the problem, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a comprehensive report detailing the common sources of foodborne illness in the U.S. from the years 1998 through 2008.

The largest culprit? Leafy greens. Based on data from nearly 4,600 outbreaks of food illness, researchers estimated the number of cases attributable to 17 different food categories and found that produce accounted for 46% of cases. Leafy vegetables such as spinach and cabbage were responsible for the majority of the illnesses, and most were caused by norovirus, which is spread to produce from water contaminated by fecal matter."

Alexandra Sifferlin reports for TIME January 30, 2013.

Source: TIME, 01/31/2013