Whether sit-down, drive-thru or takeout, restaurant-prepared food is the leading source of food-borne illness in Connecticut, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control.
The data from 1998 to 2014, however, are limited to 218 “single-state” outbreaks that affected only Connecticut residents. A summary of more comprehensive data on the CDC website reports that 67 multi-state outbreaks affected Connecticut residents.
The multi-state data not captured is significant. The single-state outbreaks caused 3,841 illnesses, 123 hospitalizations and one death in Connecticut. Though far fewer in number, multi-state outbreaks that affected Connecticut caused 8,908 illnesses and 52 deaths throughout all of the states they affected.
Restaurants didn’t just lead in the total number of people affected. We found that restaurant-prepared food accounted for 126 of the 218 single-state outbreaks in Connecticut.
What foods made people sick?
We also looked at which foods were causing illnesses. Each outbreak has a fairly specific food “carrier” listed by the CDC, so we consolidated them into categories to get a birds-eye view. Macaroni and cheese, lasagna and ziti all wound up in “pasta” for our purposes. Chicken — whether barbecue or roasted or in a stew, went into “chicken.” There were a lot of unknown foods and cases inolving multiple foods.
Here is the full, searchable list of each type of food carrier as described by the CDC.
One death was recorded in the CDC’s data on single-state data for outbreaks in Connecticut. In May 2012, a case of salmonella enteritidis from eggs at an assisted living facility made 20 people sick, sent three to the hospital and resulted in one death.