Meat, eggs most associated with foodborne illnesses

Raw foods, including chicken, are most likely to be contaminated with foodborne illnesses. (AP)

WASHINGTON – Foodborne illnesses sicken an estimated 48 million people a year. And while most of the nation’s food supply is safe, a surprising variety of foods can make you sick.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1 in 6 Americans gets sick from foodborne illnesses, 128,000 wind up in hospitals and 3,000 die each year.

What foods are most associated with foodborne illnesses?

Raw foods of animal origin are most likely to be contaminated — raw meat, poultry, raw eggs, unpasteurized milk and raw shellfish.

But the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a private consumer group that has long warned about foodborne illnesses, also points out that pathogens, such as salmonella and norovirus, can lurk in leafy green vegetables.

Potatoes also are sometimes blamed for food borne illnesses, usually potato salads or other food dishes, and the cause is typically improperly handled raw meat or poultry ingredients.

According to, foodborne illnesses have been caused by beef jerky, cheese and even ice cream.

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