What's the probability that we'll get one of these nasty illnesses?
"These types of questions are harder to answer -- it's impossible to quantify risk because there are so many variables and unknowns," Dr. Bunning tells us. Because much of our food supply in the US comes from large operations, when food contamination happens, it becomes a big deal: consider the recent 2015 cucumber salmonella outbreak that affected 27 states, or the cleverly named "sproutbreaks" that happen essentially every year.
Shouldn't something be done about this?!
In an ideal world, yes. "It's best to prevent contamination in the first place," clarifies Dr. Bunning. "The passing of the Food Safety Modernization Act is bringing about changes that should help ensure safe handling all along the food chain." That act was passed in 2011, though, and people are still getting food sick -- implementation is underway, but you also have to fend for yourself. "Washing is a simple practice that can help reduce the overall risk of illness," Dr. Bunning recommends.