June 12, 2009

Poultry led in food-poisoning cases

Poultry was the most common source of food poisoning among 17 foods tracked in 2006 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, federal officials said.

Poultry was followed by leafy vegetables and fruits and nuts, the CDC said in a report released Thursday, the first by the federal government to identify how most people in the United States fall ill from tainted foods.

The study found two-thirds of all food-related illnesses linked to a lone ingredient were caused by viruses, likely transmitted to the food by people who had a virus on their skin and failed to wash their hands, the CDC reported.

Salmonella was the second-leading cause of single-source food illness, the CDC said. Salmonella bacteria has been linked to nationwide outbreaks of illness from tainted tomatoes, peanut butter, spinach and tomatoes.

Dairy products accounted for 3 percent of traceable food-related outbreaks in 2006, with 71 percent of the cases linked to unpasteurized milk, the CDC said.

The CDC analyzed reports of food-related illnesses submitted by state and local health departments.