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CDC: Leafy Greens Cause Most Cases Of Food Poisoning

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File photo of lettuce growing on a farm. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

File photo of lettuce growing on a farm. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta) - Leafy greens, usually touted as the staple of a healthy diet, have now been cited as the most common cause of food poisoning, according to a new study.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta recently released the findings of a study that show vegetables such as lettuce, kale and spinach to be the source of more incidents of food poisoning than any other kind of food.

The CDC reports that an estimated 48 million people suffer from food poisoning in general every year, CBS News learned. Of those, 128,000 end up in the hospital, and 3,000 die after eating the wrong thing.

One out of every five people of the 48 million who suffer from food poisoning allegedly acquired it from eating a leafy green vegetable, and nearly half of all food poisoning cases were caused by fruits and vegetables in general.

According to CBS News, researchers at the CDC discovered the trend during a larger, comprehensive study of food poisoning that examined data on the matter collected between 1998 and 2008.

The statistics are alarming – especially when looked at alongside recent recalls of E. Coli- or Listeria-contaminated greens from companies such as Wegmans and Dole.

However, study authors reassured consumers that leafy greens are still an important part of a person’s diet. They just need to be washed thoroughly and cooked properly.

Added study author and government researcher Dr. Patricia Griffin, “Most meals are safe.”

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