When to Say When: Is it Safe to Eat?
Salmonella is another common cause of foodborne illness. According to the CDC, it was responsible for the most hospitalizations and deaths of any other foodborne illness in 2011. While eggs and poultry cause many salmonella illnesses, they aren't responsible for all of them. Salmonella can be found in ground meat, fruits, vegetables and even some prepared foods such as TV dinners. And salmonella might cause even more illness than we know of – for every person who seeks medical attention and has their illness confirmed by a laboratory, there are an estimated 30 sickened by salmonella who don't report it.
In fact, the CDC urges you to report any suspected incidences of foodborne illness. Contact the local health department – they need your help in the event of an outbreak.
The second most lethal foodborne illness is toxoplasmosis, which can be found in undercooked, contaminated meat (especially pork, lamb, and venison). Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite, is what causes illness, which has an incubation of up to three weeks, making it difficult to trace back to a certain cause or type of food. Toxoplasmosis was responsible for 4,428 hospitalizations and 327 deaths in 2011.
The bacteria Listeria is the third-leading cause of death when it comes to foodborne illnesses. About 1,600 people are sickened each year, and 255 people died of listeriosis in 2011. It's found in unpasteurized dairy products such as milk and soft cheeses and cold deli meats and hot dogs.