By the Numbers

—Writer Jeffrey Steingarten, in a recent Op Ed piece for the New York Times, puts the raw shellfish scare initiated several years ago by the FDA into perspective. The FDA’s report stated that one out of every 2000 servings of a raw shellfish was likely to make you sick. This, according to Steingarten, pales in comparison to the statistic that you can expect to sustain a substantial physical injury with every 250 days of skiing. Which means, says Steingarten, skiing is eight times more dangerous than eating a plate of oysters!

—According to a recent report by Datamonitor, a business information company, the U.S. online grocery sector will be valued at $2.6 billion by 2005 if grocers can continue to raise interest in the concept. The report states consumer interest is growing rapidly at a compound annual growth rate of 108.6%—from $0.8 million in 1996 to $1.5 billion in 2000. However, while there is growth there is also consumer reluctance in online shopping due to the lack of publicity; consumers are not aware of the services in their local area, nor do they know which Web sites to visit. To capitalize on this growth potential, notes Datamonitor, grocers must revamp their marketing initiatives to target this audience.

—The U.S. FDA recently reported after investigating dozens of food companies and implementing aggressive labeling laws, as many as 25% of food manufacturers still do not list common ingredients known to cause fatal allergic reactions in individuals with food allergies on their labels. Quoting statistics from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, the FDA stated 30,000 Americans are rushed to emergency rooms annually as a result of food related allergies, and of these, 200 die. The FDA focused their investigation on 85 cookie makers, candy companies and ice cream manufactures.

—According to a recent report by the USDA’s Nutrient Data Laboratory, Omega 3 levels in California salmon is 29.4% greater than what was reported in their previous study. Diets rich in Omega 3, a fatty acid, have been linked to reducing the risk for cardiac arrest in addition to increasing cognitive function and reducing depression. The new data measured 2.2 grams per 100 grams of raw edible fish portions containing Omega 3 against previous results of 1.7 grams per 100 grams. Used for the study was the California King or Chinook salmon, which were California ocean caught.

—According to data collected by the Center for Disease Control’s Emerging Infections Program Foodborne Disease Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet), an estimated 76 million people contract foodborne illnesses annually in the United States. FoodNet collected statistics on nine of these diseases from eight U.S. cities to monitor the illnesses, and will use the data to combat pathogen outbreaks. The preliminary report states during 2000, with a surveillance of 29.5 million people, 12,631 laboratory confirmed cases of nine diseases occurred; 4640 of campylobacteriosis, 4237 of salmonellosis, 2324 of shigellosis, 631 of E. coli O157 infections, 484 cryptosporidiosis, 131 yersiniosis, 101 listeriosis, 61 Vibrio and 22 cyclosporiasis. Overall, the top diseases per 100,000 population were Campylobacter followed by Salmonella and Shigella.

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