The maxim “you are what you eat,” may or may not be true, but when it comes to imported foods, what you eat may be putting you at a higher risk of becoming hospitalized due to a dangerous foodborne illness, according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC reported that foodborne illnesses caused by imported foods rose in 2009 and 2010. From 2005 to 2010, there were 39 outbreaks and 2,348 illnesses linked to imported foods – 17 of those outbreaks occurred in 2009 and 2010 alone. According to CDC experts, the reported number of outbreaks may wildly underestimate the true total since the origin of many foods that cause outbreaks is either unknown or not reported.
The most common culprits were fish and spices – especially peppers – that accounted for 23 outbreaks over the five-year span. While 15 countries have been tagged as sources of contaminated foods, nearly 45 percent of foods that have caused outbreaks have come from Asia.
According to the latest Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (ERS), U.S. food imports more than doubled from 1999 to 2010 – from $41 billion to $86 billion. Overall the CDC estimates that roughly 48 million people get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die as a result of foodborne illnesses each year.
Dangers of Foodborne Illnesses
Information is key if we are going to protect our citizens from contracting potentially lethal foodborne illnesses from imported foods. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) some 1.5 million Americans develop secondary long-term medical complications due to foodborne illnesses every year.
Determining liability if you have been sickened or injured by a food product is not a simple task. That’s why it is important to discuss your legal options with the Jacksonville food product liability lawyers at Farah & Farah. A phone call to (800) 533-3555 can set you on a path to be compensated for medical bills and other damages.
Sources: http://www.chicagotribune.com/health/sns-rt-us-food-cdcbre82d1as-20120314,0,4369051.story; http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2012/p0314_foodborne.html