Major foodborne outbreaks in the United States have more than tripled in the last 20 years, and the germs most frequently implicated are familiar to most Americans: Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria.
In the most recent five-year period -- from 2010 to 2014 -- these multistate outbreaks were bigger and deadlier than in years past, causing more than half of all deaths related to contaminated food outbreaks, public health officials said Tuesday. A wide variety of foods were involved, ranging from vegetables and fresh fruits to beef and chicken. Some had never before been linked to outbreaks, such as the caramel apples, tainted with Listeria, that led to an outbreak in which seven people died and 34 were hospitalized in late 2014.
Just last weekend, a rash of E. coli cases in Washington state and Oregon prompted Chipotle to temporarily shutter 43 of its restaurants there. No deaths have been reported. On Tuesday, health officials in Oregon and Washington said the number of cases has jumped to at least 37, with 25 in Washington and 12 in Oregon.