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Beef: One-quarter of food borne illness

April 3, 2013 at 1:37 PM

ATLANTA, April 3 (UPI) -- A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study says meat and poultry account for nearly a quarter of all food borne illnesses, a U.S. researcher says.

Dr. John Painter, an epidemiologist at the CDC, said many think beef is a common cause of food borne illness, but it accounted for only one-quarter of food borne illness.

"Beef is now less contaminated to start with, and most fast-food restaurants are cooking burgers well so, beef was the source of fewer than 7 percent of food-related illnesses and fewer than 4 percent of deaths," Painter said in a statement. "You still need to be careful to cook beef, especially ground beef, thoroughly. If not completely cooked, contaminated meat and poultry can cause diarrhea."

Food borne illness can be prevented through thoroughly cleaning hands, knives, cutting boards, counters and sinks after working with raw meat and poultry, Painter said.

About half of food borne illness comes from fresh fruit and vegetables, the CDC study said.

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