Are you doing the environmentally responsible thing and trying to eat more produce and less meat? Hey, good on you! Pat yourself on the back. Now brace yourself for some bad news.
...a new CDC report from the Interagency Food Safety Analytics Collaboration looked at data on US outbreaks between 2008 and 2012. In order to really home in on what contributes to food poisoning, the researchers looked at outbreaks that were caused by one of four of the most common pathogens — E. coli, Campylobacter, salmonella, and listeria — and that could be attributed to a single food category. (Note: Many food-borne illnesses are never attributed to a source, and some are not caused by bacteria but instead things like mold, parasites, or allergies.)
The research team came to a counterintuitive finding: produce and eggs were the most common culprits of food poisoning — not beef, fish, or poultry.
That's the bad news. The good news? "The overall benefits of eating fresh produce massively outweigh the small risk of food poisoning." Plus, a big reason produce poses a risk is that we tend to eat it raw, so, you know, just cook it first and you'll probably be alright.
Another reason produce makes more people sick is that Americans are eating more fresh produce today than we were as recently as 2005, which is also a good thing. For more on the less obvious risks posed by produce and eggs, and how you can avoid them (including best practices for things like refrigeration), visit Vox.