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Food Poisoning Sickens 1 in 6 Americans, CDC says

| Dec 16, 2010

Nearly 17 percent of Americans, or one in six people, will get sick from food poisoning every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC released its new data Wednesday, claiming one in six Americans, or 48 million people, gets sick from food every year, and about 3,000 die from those illnesses. The updated data provides the latest information on foodborne illnesses since 1999, according to news reports .

While the number may seem high, however, it is actually lower than previous reports. In the 1999 data, it was estimated one in four American fell ill each year and 5,000 died from food related illnesses.

Despite the numbers, the CDC thinks there is more progress to be made, and it does not necessarily mean the instances of food poisoning are decreasing.

"These are preventable diseases," said Chris Braden, acting director of the division of food-borne, water-borne and environmental diseases at the CDC. "We need to do more to lower the impact of these diseases in the U.S."

Salmonella is the leading cause of foodborne illnesses, according to the reports, with 28 percent of cases of deaths linked to the bacteria and 35 percent of hospitalizations.

Of the 48 million who get sick, "9.4 million become ill after consuming food contaminated by at least one of 31 known bacteria, parasites and other pathogens. But the remaining 38 million victims - the lion's share - are poisoned by unknown pathogens," according to news report.

As a North Charleston foodborne illness lawyer , I think these numbers enforce the importance of Congress passing a food safety overhaul bill, which is currently pending approval.

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