10 of the Worst Foodborne Illness Outbreaks in U.S. History 

Oyster-Borne Typhoid Fever

– 1924-25, New York City – About 1,500 people got ill, and 150 died

Listeria California Cheese

– 1985, California – 142 infection cases and 52 confirmed deaths, including 19 stillbirths and ten infant deaths.

Raw Milk Septic Sore Throat Outbreak

– 1911, Boston – Approximately 1,400 people got infected, and 48 died

Listeriosis from Contaminated Cantaloupe

– 2011, multistate outbreaks (28 states) – 147 infections and 33 fatalities, and one miscarriage

The Milk-Borne Epidemic of Septic Sore Throat in Portland, Oregon

– 1922, Portland, Oregon – 487 cases and 22 death

Botulism Epidemic from Canned Olive

– 1919-24, California canned olives (three states) – 19 fatalitie

Frankfurters/Hot Dogs Listeriosis Outbreak

– 1998-99 (24 states) – About 100 reported cases, 14 deaths, and four miscarriage

Pilgrim’s Pride Turkey Meat Listeria Outbreak 

– 2002, (3 States) – Eight fatalities and three stillbirth

Dole Bagged Spinach

– 2006, multistate outbreak (26 states) – About 102 hospitalizations, 31 kidney failures, and three death

Bottom Line

Every year, about 3,000 Americans die after consuming contaminated food. 

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