Despite the recent E. coli spinach outbreak, food may be safer now than at any other time in the last decade, with illness occurring at record-low rates, reports the Associated Press.
Consumers get part of the credit, for handling food more safely at home, but experts say the biggest improvement came from better industry controls and inspections.
"The food is actually cleaner to begin with," said Dr. Robert Tauxe, top food scientist at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Certain germs have dramatically declined, and "that to me is really solid progress."
However, Tauxe does stress that the trend could reverse in coming years if fruit and vegetable growers do not address problems like those that led to the spinach scare.