Leafy green vegetables, power-packed with nutrients, are a growing part of the average American diet. Yet in 2009, leafy greens also made the Center for Science in the Public Interest’s “Top 10 Most Dangerous Foods,” due to a surprising number of foodborne illnesses linked to the seemingly innocuous salad staple.
But a team of researchers with Ohio State University’s Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) is working on an answer.
According to the Food and Drug Administration, 82 foodborne illness outbreaks between 1996 and 2008 were linked to the consumption of fresh produce. More than one-third of them were traced to leafy greens, accounting for 949 illnesses and five deaths. One outbreak alone, the 2006 contamination of spinach with Escherichia coli O157:H7, caused 204 illnesses, including 104 hospitalizations, 31 cases of hemolytic-uremic syndrome (a serious complication), and three deaths. On top of the human cost, the economic impact of that outbreak alone was estimated at anywhere from $37 million to $75 million.… Continue readingRead More »