These Are the Most Common Causes of Food Poisoning

By Chris Mah |

© Larry Lilac / Alamy

As anyone who ate at Jack in the Box in 1993 will tell you, getting food poisoning is a terrible feeling. If you’re unlucky enough to have ever suffered the effects of a bad burrito, there’s little solace in learning you’re not alone—each year, 48 million Americans get a foodborne illness.

With such a large number of people affected, a new study published by the Interagency Food Safety Analytics Collaboration found the biggest culprits that contribute to food poisoning. It represents a big step forward in reducing the occurrence and severity of foodborne outbreaks. And if the data can be used to make our food safer, then we can all feel better about ordering the eggs Benedict at that lonely truckstop diner on our next road trip.

We aren’t saying anyone needs to stop eating any of these things, but according to the Food and Drug Administration, these are the most common causes of food poisoning and the foods in which they most frequently reside.

E. Coli

  • Beef: 46 percent of cases
  • Vegetable row crops: 36 percent of cases


  • Seeded vegetables: 18 percent of cases
  • Fruit: 12 percent of cases
  • Eggs: 12 percent of cases
  • Chicken: 10 percent of cases
  • Beef: 9 percent of cases
  • Pork: 8 percent of cases
  • Sprouts: 8 percent of cases


  • Dairy: 66 percent of cases
  • Chicken: 8 percent of cases


  • Fruit: 50 percent of cases
  • Dairy: 31 percent of cases

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