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Food-Borne Illness Is Rising — What About Food Recalls?

By , May 2nd, 2018 | No Comments

how to handle food recalls
About 48 million people fall ill from food poisoning or food-related illness every year in the U.S.. More than 128,000 of those people end up hospitalized and another 3,000 die, costing the U.S. economy more than $15.6 billion annually. Food recalls have been on the rise in the U.S.

Most people associate food poisoning with raw chicken and seafood — but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says other types of causes are rising.

Your Salad May Not Be That Healthy

Produce caused nearly half of all food-borne illness in the U.S. each year and leafy greens lead to 25% of all food poisoning cases annually, the CDC says.

Dairy and eggs account for 20% of food poisoning. Meat and poultry claim 22%, while fish claims 6% of the blame for food-borne illness in the U.S. annually.

Most recently, CDC officials, along with the Food and Drug Administration, have been searching for the source of an E. coli outbreak that contaminated a large amount of romaine lettuce in Yuma. So far, 98 people have fallen ill and 10 have developed kidney failure.
“Do not eat or buy romaine lettuce unless you can confirm it is not from the Yuma, Arizona, growing region,” CDC officials warned the public. This includes prepackaged salads and romaine lettuce in restaurants.

What to Do When There’s a Food Recall

Because one in six Americans falls ill from food poisoning each year, paying attention to food recalls can be important. You could end up eating something extremely dangerous. What do you do when you have a piece of food that has been recalled?

According to the Federal Food Safety website, these are the steps you should take after a food recall.

  1. Before you get too frazzled, identify whether the product you have is actually the item being recalled. For instance, a recent egg recall in North Carolina only applied to eggs in 18-count packages that had the date of April 3 on them. A carton of a dozen eggs would not have been in danger of contamination.
  2. If you in fact own the recalled product, you should return it to the store right away. In most cases, the store should issue you a refund.
  3. If you have consumed the recalled food, watch for food poisoning symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
  4. Lastly, clean your kitchen. If you had recalled meat or produce in your refrigerator, you should clean it thoroughly. Also be sure to clean any surfaces you may have prepared (or started to prepare) those items.

Even if you aren’t in possession of any recalled food right now, it’s important to stay abreast of the topic due to the rising rate of food-borne illness and food recalls in the U.S.

Readers, are you concerned about the E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce? What steps do you take to protect yourself?

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