Americans who eat out at restaurants are twice as likely to get food poisoning, compared to those who eat food prepared at home, Counsel & Heal reported.
In a new study from the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), researchers analyzed 10,408 food poisoning outbreaks based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The data included cases from 2002 through 2011.
Over the nine-year period, researchers found that more than 1,610 outbreaks— sickening more than 28,000 people — occurred in restaurants. In the same time frame, 893 outbreaks—sickening approximately 13,000 people— occurred within a home setting.
CSPI researchers believe food poisoning numbers may actually be higher, as many cases go underreported.
"Underreporting of outbreaks has reached epidemic proportions," Caroline Smith DeWaal, the CSPI food safety director, told UPI. "Yet the details gleaned from outbreak investigations provide essential information so public health officials can shape food safety policy and make science-based recommendations to consumers."
Of the outbreaks, only 3,933 were considered to be solved – meaning investigators had identified the specific food and pathogen that caused the illness. The solved cases were tied to 98,399 illnesses.