Despite improvements in food safety over the last two decades, 2012 saw no shortage of recalls due to food contamination. For example, one Indiana farm recalled all cantaloupes from its 2012 growing season after the fruit was linked to an outbreak of salmonella that killed three and sickened hundreds. Another salmonella outbreak caused health officials to shut down the Vancouver, Washington branch of a popular Mexican restaurant.
The outbreaks of 2012 were not an anomaly. Recent studies show that foodborne illness may be on the rise. According to the Center for Disease Control, approximately 48 million Americans fall ill, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die each year due to food contamination. That means that 15% of Americans can expect to have a foodborne illness annually. And, a recent study by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group estimates that the number of Americans falling ill or dying from eating tainted food has increased 44% since 2011.
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