A new study put out by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has ranked the ten foods that the FDA regulates which have caused the most foodborne illnesses. Noticeably absent from the list are meat products. The reason: this list only includes what the FDA regulates -- produce, seafood, eggs and dairy products. The USDA oversees meat, which is why it's not included on this list. While CSPI's top ten headline is sure to draw attention, the result should not be to scare consumers off of these individual foods, many of which are extremely nutritious on their own. The real culprit that CSPI is taking aim at is the industrial agriculture system. The CSPI concludes that the FDA's mandate is outdated, and it lacks the authority and resources to properly regulate the nation's food supply. "A complex, globalized food system, archaic food-safety laws, and the rise of large-scale production and processing have combined to create a perfect storm of unsafe food," the study states.
Three hundred and sixty-three outbreaks and 13,568 illnesses were attributed to leafy greens in the last 20 years. Eggs rank as the second riskiest food, with 352 outbreaks involving 11,163 reported cases of illness. Tuna, oysters, potatoes, cheese, ice cream, tomatoes, sprouts, and berries round out the top ten. the group's study cites E. Coli, Salmonella, Norovirus and other potentially deadly pathogens as the top culprits of foodborne illnesses in the United States.
Various industries criticized the study's findings due to their association with foods cited in the top ten list. In response to one of the study's more surprising findings--that ice cream is in danger of transmitting Salmonella--the National Milk Producers Federation released a statement accusing the study of basing its findings on outdated information. "Cheese and ice cream products are among the safest, most stringently regulated foods in this country," the federation wrote in a press release.
We at HuffPost Green hope that the study will ignite a larger conversation about our industrial food system and what is necessary to regulate it.
See the slideshow below for more information about these foods.