U.S. food poisoning steady

Americans didn’t suffer more food poisoning last year despite high-profile outbreaks involving peppers, peanut butter and other foods, according to a government report.

ATLANTA — Americans didn’t suffer more food poisoning last year despite high-profile outbreaks involving peppers, peanut butter and other foods, according to a government report.

Rates of food-borne illnesses have been holding steady for five years. They had been declining from the mid-1990s until the beginning of this decade, due mainly to improvements in the meat and poultry industry, some experts say.

But produce-associated food poisonings have been increasing, and the United States is no longer whittling down food-borne disease, government officials said.

“Progress has plateaued,” said Dr. Robert Tauxe of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a co-author of the report.

The report looks at the occurrence of about 10 leading food-borne illnesses in 10 states that participate in a federally-funded food poisoning monitoring system. CDC officials believe it’s nationally representative, based on the sample’s mix of geography and demographics.

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