New federal statistics show that despite the recent E. coli spinach outbreak, food may be safer now than at any other time in the last decade, with illness occurring at record-low rates.
Consumers get part of the credit, for handling food more safely at home, but experts say the biggest improvement came from better industry controls and inspections.
On Friday, the FDA lifted its warning on spinach except for specific brands packaged on certain dates. Consumers should continue to avoid spinach recalled by Natural Selection Foods LLC of San Juan Bautista and four companies that it supplied, reports the Associated Press.
The spinach sickened 187 people in 26 states, hospitalized 97 of them and killed one.
In 2005, compared with the 1996-98 period when the CDC’s FoodNet tracking system began, illnesses were down for virtually every major germ.
CDC estimates the declines as follows: yersinia, 49 percent; shigella, 43 percent; listeria, 32 percent; campylobacter, 30 percent; the dangerous O157 strain of E. coli, 29 percent; and salmonella, 9 percent.