Originally Posted by hellosailor
Hey, there are an awful lot of smart racoons out there.
Lol...smart but fat.
Numbers alone are a bit misleading. There are certainly a large number of people who get ill from foodborne pathogens, but in the grand scheme of things, the numbers are quite insignificant. The top ten causes of death in developed countries are (in order): heart disease, cerebrovascular (stroke), lung diseases, respiratory infections, lung cancer, accidents, stomach cancer, high blood pressure, tuberculosis, and self-inflicted (could knowingly eating tainted egg salad fall into this category?). This web site does a pretty good job at summarizing these stats (http://ucatlas.ucsc.edu/cause.php)
. The CDC does a good job at breaking things down in the US (similar story, but with slight differences in the category rankings). I apologize for being a bit USA-centric, but these are the stats I happen to have most readily available at the moment. The total of all deaths from just the top five on the list in the US is >1.5 million, and the number one killer is still heart disease at a whopping 652,000 deaths in 2004.
I would agree, however, that we need to be careful of food, but I would crusade against what people are eating and how much they are eating rather than worrying about a little bit of bacteria here and there. I would argue that the bang for the buck on educating people about foodborne pathogens is a case of diminishing returns compared to the impact of eating healthier diets and maintaining better weight profiles (5,000 deaths from food poisoning, while tragic, is but a drop in the bucket when we consider how many lives could be saved every year from eating healthier food and less of it).
Heck, there are 4-7,000 drowning deaths every year, so we could have as big an impact by simply eliminating boating as we could from avoiding foods with high food poisoning risks. (NB: I am being a bit facetious since only about 10-15% of these drowning deaths are boat related)