Web Zap*Germs Archive

March 22, 2006

Americans Eating Less "Risky Food"

The data are a bit old -- 1998 through 2002 -- but research shows that Americans are eating less so-called "risky foods" than ever before. Risky foods are those most likely to cause illness from dangerous germs that they carry. The most important risky foods are:

- Pink (rare or raw) hamburgers and ground beef
- Raw fresh fish (aka sashimi)
- Raw oysters
- Raw (unpasteurized) milk
- Runny (incompletely cooked) eggs
- Alfalfa sprouts

The people most likely to eat such foods are:
- men
- those with Asian backgrounds
- younger teenagers with poor immune systems ("immunocompromised")

The info was reported yesterday by Erica Weis of the California Department of Health Services, at the International Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases in Atlanta. Weis told the audience that there is still a need to educate people on the risks of eating such foods.

Speaking of food-borne illnesses, there's a lively discussion underway in the Foodsafe Discussion Group, a part of the Food Safety Web run by Cindy Roberts. The WSJ, in a recent article on Food Safety Web, says that the Foodsafe group "posts the correspondence of an elite lineup of microbiologists, chefs, restaurateurs, industry consultants and regulators from about 30 countries, including the U.S., Japan, Mexico, New Zealand and even Iraq. With its debates, battles and mini-celebrities, Foodsafe puts on display world experts as they grapple with the increasingly complex and strange world of food and disease."


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