It was sad and scary news to peanut butter lovers everywhere when Trader Joe's recalled a batch of peanut butter this week. And with good reason—foodborne illness is no joke. But the reality is that outbreaks and recalls happen all the time, not just among high-profile companies. One in six Americans become ill from a foodborne illness each year. From meats to veggies to candies, no part of the food system is immune to the lax regulation and bureaucracy that get in the way of a safe and healthy food system. Here are just ten of the scariest outbreaks of the last few years.
(Photo: Rebecca Weaver/Getty Images)
Half a Billion Eggs
In the summer of 2010, more than 550 million eggs suspected of salmonella poisoning were recalled and traced back to just two farms in Iowa. To make matters worse, one FDA official said the whole thing was preventable.
Cantaloupes became a scary edible in 2011 when listeria on the fruits led to 30 deaths across 11 states. Prior to the outbreak, auditors visited the facility and rated it "superior." What followed shortly after was the deadliest foodborne illness outbreak in 25 years.
Ricotta salata cheese became a deadly salad topping for three people this year when a batch from Forever Cheese of Astoria, New York, was contaminated with listeria. At least 14 additional people were sickened.
With so many meats getting recalled, it's easy to put the blame on animal-production practices. But veggies are vulnerable, too. In August of this year, more than 13,000 pounds of salad had to be recalled after diced onions were suspected of listeria contamination.
(Photo: Tom Grill/Getty Images)
Lead in Your Red Vines
Not even candy is safe. Black licorice Red Vines were recently pulled from shelves after a batch was discovered to have elevated levels of lead in it.
(Photo: Brenbot/Creative Commons via Flickr)
Bag It: They're Tainted
Six states had to pull more than 1,077 cases of bagged salads from shelves at Walmart and Kroger stores due to a possible listeria contamination in June of this year.
A sucker for sustainable agriculture and a good farmers market, Megan likes writing about food almost as much as eating it. If you don't want to know what's in your fruit/milk/meat, don't invite her to lunch.@babybokchoy | TakePart.com