March 21, 2018

Veggies Meet A Fork In The Road: Heart Health v. Food Poisoning

It was a good news/bad news week for fresh produce. One study, by the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said most illnesses stemming from foodborne illness outbreaks are caused by produce. Another study by researchers at Oxofrd University found that a vegetarian diet can reduce the risk of heart disease by 32 percent.

Andrew & Williamson Produce OutbreaksThe CDC study looked at food poisoning outbreaks that occurred between 1998 and 2008. More than 13,352 food poisoning outbreaks happened during that period. Of those, a specific food source was  identified in 37 percent of them or 4,887 outbreaks. CDC researchers attributed 46 percent of all illnesses stemming form those outbreaks to produce and 23 percent of them to leafy greens.

The Oxford study also looked at 11 years of data and found that a vegetarian diet lowered the risk of hospitalization or death from heart disease by 32 percent. Researchers also found that compared with nonvegetarians, vegetarians had a lower mean body mass index BMI , lwer cholesterol  and lower blood pressure. The study by Francesca L Crowe, Paul N Appleby, Ruth C Travis, and Timothy J Key entitled “Risk of hospitalization or death from ischemic heart disease among British vegetarians and nonvegetarians: results from the EPIC-Oxford cohort study” appears in the current edition of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Public health officials everywhere agree that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is essential to good health.  Taking care when preparing fresh produce, especially if it’s to be eaten raw can reduce the risk of food poisoning. Wash fruits and veggies under cold running water before eating them, even those that will be peeled. Wash the cutting board and knife before using them to prepare other foods.



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