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Eat Your Vegetables, But Wash Them First, CDC Study Confirms

By Hadas Kuznits

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A new CDC study attributes most foodborne illnesses across the United States to raw produce.

Dr. John Painter, with the Centers for Disease Control, says the goal of the study was to pinpoint where food inspection resources would be best spent.

“We asked the question, ‘Which foods make us ill?’, and we found that almost half of illnesses could be attributed to produce foods, including leafy greens, which accounted for about a quarter of them overall,” he said today.

He says those foods can transmit neuroviruses, the bug known for getting people sick on cruise ships.

“Neurovirus causes vomiting and diarrhea.  Usually, it’s not very serious in that it doesn’t cause many hospitalizations or deaths, but it does make people feel pretty unhappy for a couple of days,” he tells KYW Newsradio.

And Dr. Painter hopes the study doesn’t discourage people from eating vegetables, but rather to take better care when preparing them.

“One of the greatest preventions that we can do is careful hand washing before preparing food and serving food,” he says.

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