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Americans Avoiding Risky Foods

According to research surveys its being noted that fewer Americans are eating 'risky' foods that could carry infections//. The foods Americans consume each day are becoming far safer now than ever before, researchers report.

The survey on food borne illness, released at the International Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases in Atlanta, led researchers to conclude that media reporting and public health education efforts on risky eating habits and food-borne illnesses may be working. The researchers -- who included Erica Weis, MPH, of California's health services department were talkin about every day simple foods yet with a lot of risks consumed by an average American.

The study mainly looked at the consumption of seven foods which are known to be associated with E. coli, Vibrio, Salmonella and other food-borne illnesses,
Pink hamburger patties,
Pink ground beef,
Raw fresh fish, raw oysters,
Unpasteurized milk,
Runny eggs and
Alfalfa sprouts.

Data collected from two national surveys done by the Food borne Diseases Active Surveillance Network in 1998 and 2002 known as FoodNet. Participants were asked what they'd eaten in the past week, with the answers being very specific. For example, if people said hamburgers, they were asked to be ver clear off the meat used, as to if it were made from ground beef, or pink hamburgers patties. The percentage of Americans eating one or more risky foods with a known high risk for infectious illness decreased by a third between 1998 and 2002, from 31 percent to 21 percent, Weis and colleagues found.

The survey found African Americans were the safest eaters, with only 15 percent consuming risky foods in the week before the surveys. Men aged 18 to 64 were more likely to eat risky foods than women of the same ages, by 38 percent to 30 percent. Asians and Pacific islanders were more likely to consume risky foods than whites, by 32 percent to 21 percen t.

The researchers then concluded that overall they were seeing a decline in risky food consumption. That stated that it ight be due to the contribution of the media on reports of foodborne outbreaks and outreach efforts by the public health community.Though they felt that there was room for improvement in certain groups of Men, Asian/Pacific Islanders, and kids with impaired immune systems, and that they should be targeted as they continue to have high levels of risky food consumption.


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