New York: The Greatest Place in the Country (for Salmonella Poisoning)

By Brian Fung

Food poisoning hits some 48 million people a year -- that's one in six Americans. Not all states are equally affected, though. In the year and a half since the White House approved a major update to the nation's food-safety system, New York has led the way with more than 100 reported cases of food-borne illness, followed by Texas and Missouri with 57 cases each, Pennsylvania with 49 cases, and Colorado and Maryland, each with 43 reports.

The Pew Health Group has gone about collecting health data from all 50 states and put the results in a handy interactive map. Mouse over the graphic to view a state-by-state breakdown of food poisoning statistics nationwide (you might have to refresh the page once or twice to get the feature to load fully):

See web-only content:
http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/07/new-york-the-greatest-place-in-the-country-for-salmonella-poisoning/259957/

Among some states, the biggest culprit was salmonella-riddled tuna. Companies have begun scraping low-quality fish meat off of tuna bones, grinding it up with other fish remains, and selling it to cheap sushi restaurants. The industrial process is so complex and fraught with contamination risk, it's been called the new pink slime. Other suspicious food items include fruits like papaya and cantaloupe, which have been linked to outbreaks of salmonella and listeria, respectively.

While the results are only a partial account of the country's food-borne illness problem -- many cases go unreported, after all -- it's a good reminder of what to avoid in the grocery store or while dining out, at least for the time being.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/07/new-york-the-greatest-place-in-the-country-for-salmonella-poisoning/259957/