A new report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals that nearly half of food illnesses cases between 1998 and 2008 were caused by leafy vegetables.
The report analyzed 4,600 outbreaks of food illnesses during the period and found that produce accounted for more than 46 percent of the outbreaks. The researchers said that majority of the cases involved leafy vegetables such as cabbage and spinach with most of the illnesses caused by norovirus which contaminated the vegetables through water.
Though leafy vegetables were responsible for a large number of outbreaks, the largest contributor for deaths caused by food illnesses was poultry and meat which accounted for 19 percent of the deaths, usually caused by listeria and salmonella infections.
The CDC went on to say that while leafy vegetables were the largest contributors of food illnesses, people should not stop eating them. "When properly cleaned, separated, cooked, and stored to limit contamination, fruits and vegetables safely provide some essential nutrients that would otherwise be lacking in most American diets", the report said.