Re: Cutting boards and vegetarians
From: Kay Argyle (
Date: Tue, 18 Jan 2000 14:20:26 -0700 (MST)
> What is the risk of getting food poisoning from careless food
> preparation at home?  How does it compare to being struck by lightning?

100 deaths by lightening vs. 2,700 deaths from food poisoning annually in
the U.S. (sources for these figures are given below).  So possibly
twenty-five times as dangerous, if you just count deaths.  I didn't find
any statistics on how many people survive being struck by lightening, but
going by the USDA figures there are 1,000 cases of food poisoning for every
death.  If there are 3 million nonfatal cases of food poisoning in the U.S.
annually, out of a population of 250 million, that means 1 out of every 100
people _every year_.

Website URLs follow each quote below.

"From the same source (1991 figures of National Safety Council), here
is the table of accidental deaths in the US:
  Accident cause              Mortality rate per 100,000 people
  Automobiles                                 18.6
  Home accidents                               8.6
  Falls                                        5.0
  Poisoning                                    2.6
  Fires                                        1.7
  Suffocation                                  1.3
  Hunting (among participants)                 0.85
  Lightning                                    0.04
  Insect stings                                0.02
  Hunting (among non-participants)             0.001"

Estimated 3 to 7 million food poisoning cases in the U.S. in 1993. 
Estimated 2,695 to 8,587 deaths.  (USDA figures)

"The cost of food poisoning to the nation, based on direct medical
expenses, lost wages, and productivity, and industry loss of tainted food
products, is estimated at $1 billion to $10 billion annually."  U.S. FDA,

"Nationwide: #1 - Fire; #2 - Floods; #3 - Lightening; #4 - Tornadoes. 
Nationwide in 1988, there were 552,5000 residential fires which killed
5,065 people." [hazardous causes of death]

"Between 100 and 300 people are killed by lightening each year in the
United States."

Kay Argyle
Wasatch Commons

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.