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Salsa, guacamole big sources of food illness.

Almost one out of every 25 U.S. restaurant-related food-borne outbreaks from 1998 to 2008 was traced back to salsa and guacamole, according to recent federal research.

Released in July at the International Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases, the research found that food-borne illness outbreaks linked to salsa and guacamole were more than double in 1998-2008 than the previous decade. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began conducting surveillance for food-borne disease outbreaks in 1973, but none associated with salsa or guacamole were reported before 1984. However, they accounted for 1.5 percent of all food establishment outbreaks from 1984-1997 and almost 4 percent from 1998-2008.

"Possible reasons salsa and guacamole can pose a risk for food-borne illness is that they may not be refrigerated properly and are often made in large batches, so even a small amount of contamination can affect many customers," said Magdalena Kendall, MPH, of the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education and a collaborator on the CDC study.

Also in July, Consumers Union released new poll data that showed 80 percent of Americans want Congress to immediately give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration the authority to recall food when it poses a danger to public health and safety. As of late July, legislation to give FDA that ability had been stalled in the Senate.

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Title Annotation:NATION IN BRIEF
Author:Currie, Donya
Publication:The Nation's Health
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2010
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