With any report of this nature, there is a lot of extrapolation. One of the biggest is the fact that many foods involved in outbreaks were classified as complex foods - foods with more than one commodity involved. And the number of reported illnesses is small considering it is over a ten year period (270,000 illnesses compared to an estimated 460,000,000 cases that would have estimated to occur 46 million X 10 years OR less than 1%).
And it cannot be overlooked that the data is now 5 years old.
There is some information we can glean from the report. Produce and meat/poultry are important commodities when it comes to foodborne illness. Norovirus is the leading cause of illness, Some excerpts are listed below. Beyond that, it makes for press releases keeping food safety in the news.
For full report: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/19/3/11-1866_article.htm
Attribution of Foodborne Illnesses, Hospitalizations, and Deaths to Food Commodities by using Outbreak Data, United States, 1998–2008
- During 1998–2008, a total of 13,352 foodborne disease outbreaks, causing 271,974 illnesses, were reported in the United States (Technical Appendix 1 Table 1 [PDF - 723 KB - 8 pages]). Of those outbreaks, 4,887 (37%), causing 128,269 (47%) illnesses, had an implicated food vehicle and a single etiology; 300 of those outbreaks were excluded because information about the vehicle was insufficient to categorize the ingredients. We also did not include the 3% of outbreaks that had multiple etiologies reported.
- Norovirus caused the most outbreaks (1,419) and outbreak-associated illnesses (41,257), far above the median for all agents (29 outbreaks, 1,208 illnesses).
- Produce commodities (fruits-nuts and the 5 vegetable commodities) accounted for 46% of illnesses; meat-poultry commodities (beef, game, pork, and poultry) accounted for 22%. Among the 17 commodities, more illnesses were associated with leafy vegetables (2.1 million [23%]) than any other commodity. The high estimate for illnesses attributable to leafy vegetables was many times higher than the low estimate (Figure 2, panel A), which indicates that leafy vegetables were frequently found in complex foods. After leafy vegetables, the commodities linked to the most illnesses were dairy (1.3 million [14%]), fruits-nuts (1.2 million [12%]), and poultry (900,000 [10%]). Norovirus comprised 57% of all illnesses.
- Most bacterial illnesses were attributed to dairy (18%), poultry (18%), and beef (13%) commodities (Table 1). Most chemical illnesses were attributed to fish (60%, most caused by the marine biotoxin ciguatoxin).
- Most viral illnesses were attributed to leafy vegetables (35%), fruits-nuts (15%), and dairy (12%). Of the 20 outbreaks associated with simple foods and caused by norovirus transmitted by dairy, 14 (70%) were transmitted by cheese products.