Contaminated fruits and vegetables are causing more food-borne illness among Americans than raw chicken or eggs, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
Bacteria such as salmonella and e.coli infect animals and make their way into manure used as plant fertilizer, increasingly in Latin America, which is a growing fresh produce supplier for the US.
According to CSPI’s report, fruits and vegetables triggered 31 outbreaks from 2002 to 2003, compared with 29 for poultry. Contaminated tomatoes, sprouts and other produce made 28,315 people sick from 1990 to 2003, chicken made 14,729 people sick, and eggs caused 10,847 illnesses. CSPI suggests immediate changes to help protect the nation’s food supply including limiting manure usage among growers, and marking packaging to ensure traceability.