Half of US food-borne illnesses traced to restaurants

April 29th, 2008 - 11:08 am ICT by admin  

Washington, April 29 (IANS) If you are planning a trip to the US, remember to avoid eating at restaurants. The roots of half the estimated 76 million food-borne diseases recorded in the country can be traced to restaurants. Despite such scary numbers, a new study has found that people are generally unaware of the frequency of restaurant inspections and the consequences of poor inspection results.

Findings of the study are being published in the forthcoming issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Timothy F. Jones of Vanderbilt University pointed out: “That consumers have a number of misconceptions and unrealistically high expectations of the restaurant inspection system was a major finding of this large survey”.

Inspections are one mechanism through which regulatory agencies educate operators and encourage ongoing compliance. However, the industry must ultimately take responsibility for consistently and effectively maintaining food safety, Jones said.

Using data from telephone surveys of 2,000 adults, researchers found that while almost all respondents were aware that restaurants were inspected regularly, over 50 percent believed that inspections occurred from five more than 12 times per year.

In reality, inspections are carried out only twice a year.

More than 70 billion meals are consumed in restaurants in the US every year, accounting for 47 percent of total food expenditure.

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