The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) earlier this week released a list of the Top 10 Riskiest Foods, with leafy greens topping the list. Also in the top 10 were potatoes, tomatoes, sprouts, and berries.
In response, United Fresh and the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) issued a joint statement that urges CSPI to clarify inaccuracies in the report. The letter was authored by United Fresh president and CEO Tom Stenzel and PMA president and CEO Bryan Silbermann, who expressed concerns that the list could discourage Americans from eating fruits and vegetables.
“As you know,” the letter states, “… the produce industry is committed to ensuring the fresh fruits and vegetables we produce provide consumers with a safe and healthy eating experience every bite, every time.”
The letter focused on industry-wide initiatives that are working to improve food safety accountability, including PMA’s and United’s involvement in the Partnership for Food Safety Education, as well as their call for mandated regulation to ensure food safety.
“By focusing your ‘Top Ten’ release solely on the food products listed, you are presenting a misleading picture to the American public,” the letter states. “As you well know, food handling is often the cause of such outbreaks. And while you do provide some clarification in the full report, the reality is that most consumers and reporters will not go to the website for more complete information.”
The list is as follows:
- Leafy greens: 363 outbreaks involving 13,568 reported cases of illness.
- Eggs: 352 outbreaks with 11,163 reported cases of illness.
- Tuna: 268 outbreaks with 2,341 reported cases of illness.
- Oysters: 132 outbreaks with 3,409 reported cases of illness.
- Potatoes: 108 outbreaks with 3,659 reported cases of illness.
- Cheese: 83 outbreaks with 2,761 reported cases of illness.
- Ice Cream: 74 outbreaks with 2,594 reported cases of illness.
- Tomatoes: 31 outbreaks with 3,292 reported cases of illness.
- Sprouts: 31 outbreaks with 2,022 reported cases of illness.
- Berries: 25 outbreaks with 3,397 reported cases of illness.
To see the letter from United Fresh and PMA in its entirety, click here.