The March 3 issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases contains a major study tabulating 1998-2008 United States data for hospitalizations and deaths attributed to some 17 food commodities. During this period estimated annual foodborne illnesses in the US population averaged 9.64 million. Not surprisingly, Produce was linked to 45.9 percent of estimated annual illnesses with Leafy-Greens at 22.3 percent. Aquatic Food Products represented 6.1 percent of the total with Fish at 2.7 percent, Crustacean Shellfish at only 0.5 percent, and Mollusks at 3.0 percent.

Meat and Poultry together represented 22.0 percent of the total with Poultry at 9.8 percent, Pork at 5.4 percent, and Beef at 6.6 percent.

Clearly, the reader must pay great attention to the methodology of the study understanding that these estimates are derrived by extrapolation from from probable attribution to food commodity categories of average annual hospitalization totals of 57,462 and average death totals of 1,451.

The article may be cited as: Painter, Hoekstra, et. al., Attribution of Foodborne Illnesses, Hospitalizations, and Deaths to Food Commodities by Using Outbreak Data, United States, 1998-2008, Emerging Infectious Diseases, Vol. 19, No. 3, March 2013.

The article, which is in the Public Domain, is posted below: