Some interesting statistics from the CDC this morning, from USA Today:
The entire article is interesting, but I think there's a definite take-home message from it all: For maximum food safety, grow your greens, don't buy them; drink unpasteurized milk from your own animals, or if you are going to buy, buy pasteurized (sigh); and be careful where you buy your meat birds.
In the age of industrial food production, you can't be too careful. This is especially true when it comes to unpasteurized milk, sadly. When we lived in the San Joaquin Valley we saw a bunch of people, including children, become ill from a local raw-milk dairy in the area. They had a great reputation, and I'm sad it happened for everyone involved, including them. I know there are supposed to be nutritional benefits of consuming raw milk, and a lot of people are fans. But if you can get your own dairy products from your own goat, sheep or cow, you would probably be the safest product you could provide to yourself and your family, if you're a milk drinker. We are actually thinking of buying a milking goat this spring for that exact reason.
As for chicken, that's a tough one. The worst case of food poisoning I've ever seen from a chicken came from a woman who processed her own birds. She gave herself campylobactor. But again, a small grower using a decent butcher would probably be fine, or an individual, if they were extremely well-schooled in how to do it safely. I know Joel Salatin was giving workshops in how to do it yourself, which is wonderful.
All in all, just another heads up to the fact that, when it comes to your food, the more you know about who grew it and where it came from, the better.