A rash of recent cases of food contamination from Blue Bell Ice Cream to Chipotle has turned food poisoning into a top conversation for anyone who eats – which is a pretty large group of people. Today, Fortune posed a very interesting question: What foods are most likely to get you sick?
In some ways, the answer is poses another question: How sick do you want to get? If you’re simply worried about “illness,” numbers, Fortune cites from the Centers for Disease Control that “leafy vegetables” are way ahead of everything else, causing over 2 million illnesses. Dairy comes in second with just 1.3 million illnesses. And comparatively speaking, poultry comes in fourth with a paltry 943,185 illnesses.
But illness covers a wide variety of symptoms, including things as simple as a little diarrhea or nausea. There are parts of Mexico where that is just called “eating.” The CDC also lists numbers for hospitalizations and, probably one of the greatest concern for most people, deaths. When it comes to fatal foods, poultry easily claims the lead with 278 deaths, nearly double the second most deadly food: dairy.
Frighteningly, there is one thing ahead of poultry on the list of foods most likely to cause death: “undetermined.” It speaks to how hard tracking foodborne illnesses really can be. “We don’t have an optimal means of monitoring occurrence of foodborne disease,” J. Glenn Morris, director of the Emerging Pathogen Institute, told Fortune. “Every other developed country has one agency responsible for food safety.” Hmm, on second thought, maybe giving up eating is the way to go.