Foodborne illnesses waylay some one in six Americans (nearly 50 million people) every year, according to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Of those, 128,000 end up hospitalized—and 3,000 die. This substantial public health burden is largely preventable with today’s technologies and functional ingredients.
The most common potential sources for foodborne illnesses are the highly perishable, animal protein-rich ingredients, specifically meats, fish, eggs, and milk and other dairy products. However, over the past decade or so there have been increasing instances of bacterial contamination of fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Noted culprits include cantaloupes, tomatoes, spinach, salad greens, Mexican-grown jalapeño peppers, cilantro, celery, and cucumbers.