Header graphic for print
Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

It is still safer to eat is China – Really?

I was reading the Seattle Times today – “China: Food Poisoning Deaths Up in 2007.”  Seems like a big admission from the Chinese Government in the run-up to the Olympics.  In contrast in the US according to the CDC, “an estimated 76 million cases of foodborne disease occur each year in the United States.  CDC estimates that there are 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths related to foodborne diseases each year.”  Deaths have remained constant for the last several years in the US.

According to the article, it was great to see that “Food poisoning deaths in China rose by [only] about one-third in 2007, the state-run news agency reported….  Citing figures from the Ministry of Health, Xinhua News Agency said 258 people were killed last year, up 32 percent from the previous year.  The report said that while the number of deaths rose in 2007, overall cases of food poisoning fell to 506, 26 percent less than the previous year.”

Hmmm, China is a country of 1.3 billion people and the US has 300 million, yet in China only 258 people were killed by food and in the US 5,000, and 506 became ill in China and in the US 76,000,000.  Wow! Clearly, we need to do a better job at protecting our citizens, or we need more creative counting.