Foodborne diseases are caused by agents that enter the body through the consumption of food or beverages. Many cases of foodborne illness are not reported, so it is impossible to get an exact count of the incidence of foodborne illness; however, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that about 76 million cases of foodborne disease occur in the United States each year, resulting in 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths. The incidence of foodborne disease is believed to be much higher in developing countries, where the World Health Organization estimates that in 2000 alone, 2.1 million people died from diarrheal diseases. Outbreaks of foodborne illness occur in both developing and industrialized countries and can affect large numbers of people. For instance, an outbreak ...

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