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The 25 foods most likely to cause foodborne illness

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Chipotle is finally seeing more customers come through its doors following a major E.coli outbreak last year. Among dozens of apologies by Chipotle execs, wide coverage of the chain’s new-and-improved safety checks and promises of free food, it seems things are on their way to returning back to normal.

This and the many major foodborne illness outbreaks reported of late highlight the importance of food safety. Knowing where your meals come from and the risks associated with different types of food is key to keeping potential bacteria at bay.

Of course, there are times when you cannot anticipate when a meal is safe. HealthGrove crunched the numbers to identify the top 25 foods that are most commonly involved in foodborne illness outbreaks. The health data visualization site, part of the Graphiq network, looked at data from the Centers for Disease Control and Protection, which documented all known foodborne illness outbreaks from 1998-2014.

It is important to note that the CDC aggregates foodborne illness reports from state and local reporting agencies, and it is up to these agencies to classify the food that caused a given outbreak. They then found the food types that caused the most outbreaks in that time span and ranked them by the most average annual outbreaks. Ties are broken by the average number of people affected per outbreak.

From the CDC: CDC is only directly involved in outbreak investigations that involve more than one state, or are particularly large, or when the state or local health department requests assistance. More information on how foodborne investigations are conducted can be found on CDC’s Investigating Foodborne Outbreaks web page.

#25. Coleslaw

 

Average annual outbreaks: 5.35
Average number of illnesses: 21.03
Total outbreaks: 91
Most common bacteria or virus type: Norovirus Genogroup I

#24. Refried Beans

 

Average annual outbreaks: 5.59
Average number of illnesses: 16.24
Total outbreaks: 95
Most common bacteria or virus type: Clostridium perfringens

#23. Lettuce

 

Average annual outbreaks: 5.65
Average number of illnesses: 25.94
Total outbreaks: 96
Most common bacteria or virus type: Norovirus Genogroup I

#22. Ham

 

Average annual outbreaks: 5.65
Average number of illnesses: 32.09
Total outbreaks: 96
Most common bacteria or virus type: Staphylococcus aureus

#21. Taco

 

Average annual outbreaks: 5.88
Average number of illnesses: 16.32
Total outbreaks: 100
Most common bacteria or virus type: Clostridium perfringens

#20. Ice

 

Average annual outbreaks: 6
Average number of illnesses: 33.16
Total outbreaks: 102
Most common bacteria or virus type: Norovirus Genogroup I

#19. Shrimp

 

Average annual outbreaks: 6.06
Average number of illnesses: 8.49
Total outbreaks: 103
Most common bacteria or virus type: Vibrio parahaemolyticus

#18. Burrito

 

Average annual outbreaks: 6.12
Average number of illnesses: 38.61
Total outbreaks: 104
Most common bacteria or virus type: Clostridium perfringens

#17. Soup

 

Average annual outbreaks: 6.24
Average number of illnesses: 13
Total outbreaks: 106
Most common bacteria or virus type: Clostridium perfringens

#16. Tuna

 

Average annual outbreaks: 6.41
Average number of illnesses: 5.78
Total outbreaks: 109
Most common bacteria or virus type: Scombroid toxin

#15. Potato

 

Average annual outbreaks: 6.41
Average number of illnesses: 34
Total outbreaks: 109
Most common bacteria or virus type: Norovirus Genogroup I

#14. Eggs

 

Average annual outbreaks: 6.53
Average number of illnesses: 20.03
Total outbreaks: 111
Most common bacteria or virus type: Salmonella enterica

#13. Potato Salad

 

Average annual outbreaks: 7.24
Average number of illnesses: 42.09
Total outbreaks: 123
Most common bacteria or virus type: Norovirus Genogroup I

#12. Salad

 

Average annual outbreaks: 10.88
Average number of illnesses: 23.3
Total outbreaks: 185
Most common bacteria or virus type: Norovirus Genogroup I

#11. Cake

 

Average annual outbreaks: 11.06
Average number of illnesses: 26.66
Total outbreaks: 188
Most common bacteria or virus type: Norovirus Genogroup I

#10. Turkey

 

Average annual outbreaks: 11.65
Average number of illnesses: 35.33
Total outbreaks: 198
Most common bacteria or virus type: Salmonella enterica

#9. Oysters

 

Average annual outbreaks: 13.35
Average number of illnesses: 11.3
Total outbreaks: 227
Most common bacteria or virus type: Vibrio parahaemolyticus

#8. Green Salads

 

Average annual outbreaks: 15.82
Average number of illnesses: 25.77
Total outbreaks: 269
Most common bacteria or virus type: Norovirus Genogroup I

#7. Pizza

 

Average annual outbreaks: 17.12
Average number of illnesses: 7.88
Total outbreaks: 291
Most common bacteria or virus type: Staphylococcus aureus

#6. Rice

 

Average annual outbreaks: 17.65
Average number of illnesses: 11.36
Total outbreaks: 300
Most common bacteria or virus type: Bacillus cereus

#5. Pork

 

Average annual outbreaks: 17.88
Average number of illnesses: 21.39
Total outbreaks: 304
Most common bacteria or virus type: Salmonella enterica

#4. Fish

 

Average annual outbreaks: 33.06
Average number of illnesses: 5.13
Total outbreaks: 562
Most common bacteria or virus type: Ciguatoxin

#3. Sandwiches

 

Average annual outbreaks: 35.24
Average number of illnesses: 18.03
Total outbreaks: 599
Most common bacteria or virus type: Norovirus Genogroup I

#2. Beef

 

Average annual outbreaks: 48.65
Average number of illnesses: 19.62
Total outbreaks: 827
Most common bacteria or virus type: Clostridium perfringens

#1. Chicken

 

Average annual outbreaks: 49.41
Average number of illnesses: 17.51
Total outbreaks: 840
Most common bacteria or virus type: Salmonella enterica