Just as the Department of Health is now in the business of issuing restaurants report cards, the Center for Science in the Public Interest has gone and graded all 50 states on how well they detect outbreaks of food-borne illnesses.
The Atlantic reports that the study, titled “All Over the Map: A 10-Year Review of State Outbreak Reporting,” CSPI analyzed 10 years of data to determine which states do the best and worst jobs handling food-borne illness outbreaks. Oregon, Minnesota, Florida, Hawaii, Maryland, Washington, and Wyoming all received an “A,” while 14 states, including Arizona, Indiana, and Louisiana, received an “F.”
In general, hotter states suffered more outbreaks due to the heat, but grades also varied widely throughout different regions of the country, regardless of climate — a bigger factor is the state’s ability to properly train its disease-control officials and provide the necessary structural support for its agencies to thoroughly investigate outbreaks.
Despite all of the wariness engendered by “Grade Pending” signs in our restaurant windows, New York has only four reported deaths over the last decade and 12,412 reported illnesses, the majority of which were due to norovirus and salmonella. Not “A”-worthy, at least in the CSPI’s estimation, but happily not flat-out disgusting, either.
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This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 25, 2011