WASHINGTON (AP) — An analysis of more than 33,000 cases of foodborne illness shows that ground beef and chicken have caused more hospitalizations than other meats.
The report by the Center for Science in Public Interest says chicken nuggets, ham and sausage pose the lowest risk of foodborne illness.
The group used government data on 1,700 outbreaks over 12 years to analyze salmonella, E. coli, listeria and other pathogens that were definitively linked to a certain meat.
To calculate which meats were riskiest, CSPI ranked the foods in which contamination was most likely to cause hospitalizations. Some meats may have had more illnesses but were less likely to cause severe illness.
After ground beef and chicken, CSPI categorized turkey and steak as “high risk” and deli meat, pork, roast beef and beef or pork barbeque as “medium risk.”
Salmonella and E. coli, pathogens that contaminate meat and poultry during slaughter and processing, accounted for a third of the illnesses surveyed. Clostridium perfringens, a lesser-known pathogen that usually grows after processing when foods are left at improper temperatures for too long by consumers or food establishments, accounted for another third.