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Outliers: If you're feeling chicken, don't eat that hamburger

By Modern Healthcare
Posted: April 27, 2013 - 12:01 am ET

Next time you're doing a risk assessment while planning a menu … wait, you don't do a risk assessment? According to some new research, Outliers thinks it might be a good idea.

If you want to steer clear of foodborne illness, chicken nuggets, ham and sausage could be your best bet. What to avoid? According to an analysis of more than 33,000 cases of foodborne illness by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, ground beef and other chicken products have caused more hospitalizations than other meats.

The group used government data on 1,700 outbreaks over 12 years to analyze salmonella, E. coli, listeria and other pathogens that were definitively linked to a certain meat. To calculate which meats were riskiest, CSPI ranked the foods in which contamination was most likely to cause hospitalizations.

A step below ground beef and chicken were turkey and steak, which CSPI categorized as “high risk.” Deli meat, pork, roast beef and beef or pork barbecue were rated a “medium risk.”

But don't take this as an excuse to go on an all-sausage diet. CSPI notes that its food-safety risk assessment doesn't take into account the diet-related disease that can be brought on by the saturated fat or sodium in meat and poultry. So pass the tofu.

Follow Outliers on Twitter: @MHOutliers

Burger or chicken? Both carry the highest risk among meats of causing foodborne illness.
Photo credit: GETTY IMAGES

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