Leafy greens that might make you sick

Close-up of greens.

TEXT OF STORY

Bill Radke: Chances are you have experienced the misery of food poisoning. This morning, a top consumer advocate released a list of the foods that are most likely to make you sick. What's the most dangerous? Here's a hint: It's something you're already inclined to "toss." Marketplace's Jennifer Collins explains.


Jennifer Collins: Leafy greens. You know -- spinach, romaine, cabbage. The Center for Science in the Public Interest says greens were involved in more than 13,000 cases of illness over 15 years.

To prevent outbreaks of things like salmonella and E. coli, the center says the FDA needs to do a better job of implementing standards, and getting farmers to adopt them. Caroline Smith DeWall heads up the food safety study.

CAROLINE DEWALL: These standards will not only protect their customers, they'll protect their own businesses.

Caroline Smith DeWaal led the study. She says the cost of food safety is minimal, but the cost of unsafe food can be devastating.

DEWALL: Whenever there is an outbreak in a specific food item like spinach, it wipes out not only that one company's production, but it will wipe out all the food growers for a season.

She says the cost of food safety is minimal. Farmers and food producers only have to start adhering to plans already in place. But the cost of unsafe food can be devastating.

The E. coli outbreak linked to spinach three years ago may have cost the industry as much as $100 million.

I'm Jennifer Collins for Marketplace.

About the author

Jennifer Collins is a reporter for the Marketplace portfolio of programs. She is based in Los Angeles, where she covers media, retail, the entertainment industry and the West Coast.

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