The consumer finance gurus at today released their list of ten major foodpoisoning outbreaks and recalls for 2010.  Yes, consumer finance and food outbreaks are tightly linked; some estimates are that every case of E. coli O157:H7 costs an average of $1,000 in physician and hospital services, and medical costs in most of the HUS cases we see easily run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars (not everybody is insured; some go bankrupt as a result; and this says nothing of the other costs, like lost wages, that must be factored into the analysis).  But that’s beside Walletpop’s point.  I agree with most of their major food stories for the year:

  1. The recall of over 500,000,000 eggs, and an associated outbreak that sickened almost 2,000 people
  2. Sangar Fresh Cut Produce listeria outbreak and forced shutdown
  3. Daniele salami salmonella outbreak ultimately linked to contaminated pepper
  4. Valley Meat beef E. coli O157:H7 outbreak
  5. Bravo Farms gouda cheese E. coli O157:H7 outbreak
  6. Fresh Express lettuce recalls
  7. Zemco Industries listeria lunchmeat recall
  8. Pictsweet Co. frozen vegetables recalled because they contained shards of glass
  9. Lobster meat recall due to listeria contamination
  10. Morningland Dairy’s dairy products recalls

It’s a good list, but it begs a bigger point with respect to the year’s problems with raw dairy.  The Morningland Dairy and Bravo Farms cheese recalls are only two in a litany of outbreaks and recalls that occurred over the course of the past year, some linked to raw milk-based cheese and some to raw milk itself.  In total in 2010, there have been 11 raw dairy outbreaks with 138 illnesses (also 1 pasteurized dairy outbreak with 23 illnesses), 1 queso fresco Mexican-style cheese outbreak with 5 illnesses, and 3 sporadic illnesses from illegal Mexican-style cheese.  As for recalls with no illnesses reported, there have been 5 linked to raw dairy (3 milk, and 2 cheese), and 3 linked to queso fresco cheese, and 1 imported Italian cheese made from pasteurized milk.