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Forget the soda tax, it’s time for a salad tax!

A bowl of saladFor the last few weeks, the tofu-and-sushi-eating crowd has been pushing to slap new taxes on soda and juice drinks in an effort to regulate what we eat. They say that sugary drinks are a public health issue because drinking too many can make you fat.

It is certainly true that consuming excessive amounts of any food, including soda, can lead to weight issues. But while enjoying cold coke on a hot summer day will never kill you, eating a salad just might.

New research out from the Center for Science in the Public Interest suggests that leafy greens, such as lettuce, spinach and cabbage, pose the greatest threat to public health of any of the foods regulated by the FDA. Since the FDA oversees about 80 percent of our food supply, that is a pretty damning statement.

The study, which looked at outbreaks of food-borne illnesses, acknowledged that most food-related illness goes unreported. But even so, it found at least 363 outbreaks and 13,568 individual illnesses caused by contaminated salads between 1990 and 2006.

That is one salad-induced outbreak every 16 days.

In one particularly high-profile outbreak in 2006,  E. coli-tainted spinach killed at least five people and left more than 200 others seriously ill.

And salad is just the beginning. Here is the complete list of the top ten most risky foods :

1: Leafy greens (363 outbreaks, 13,568 reported cases of illness)

2: Eggs (352 outbreaks, 11,163 reported cases of illness)

3: Tuna ( 268 outbreaks, 2341 reported cases of illness)

4: Oysters (132 outbreaks, 3409 reported cases of illness)

5: Potatoes (108 outbreaks, 3659 reported cases of illness)

6: Cheese (83 outbreaks, 2761 reported cases of illness)

7: Ice cream (74 outbreaks, 2594 reported cases of illness)

8: Tomatoes (31 outbreaks, 3292 reported cases of illness)

9: Sprouts (31 outbreaks, 2022 reported cases of illness)

10: Berries (25 outbreaks, 3397 reported cases of illness)

Taken together, these supposedly “healthy foods” have led to at least 1,467 outbreaks of food borne illness since 1990, making nearly 50,000 people sick. And that’s just the reported cases.You know what product did not make the list? Soda.

So instead of taxing a perfectly safe food product that is enjoyed by millions, why don’t we consider slapping a tax on the foods that actually hurt people, like salads (E. coli), sushi (mercury), tomatoes (salmonella) and berries (Cyclospora). Maybe we could use the revenue raised to buy food poison victims a nice cold coke to make their hospital stay a little more pleasant.


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13 Comments

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Wally Nowinski. Wally Nowinski said: Forget the soda tax. It is time for a salad tax–after all, it kills more people. http://bit.ly/LmnYo […]

  2. Nice post Wally. Very concise, sarcastic, and to the point! You have really taken the “What’s really a danger to society? Let’s ban that…” idea, extrapolated it, and run with it.

    The results end up being really sad when you take a political issue and actually start dissecting it with facts and logic.

    1. Free Refills says:

      Thanks Kevin. I’m glad you liked it.

  3. Anna says:

    You are from Michigan. It’s called “Pop!”

    1. Free Refills says:

      But unfortunately, Google is from out west, and putting Soda in the title gets more hits.

  4. […] to the FDA, soda is not even the most dangerous food we consume. That honor goes to leafy greens (salad), which has been responsible for at least one outbreak of […]

  5. […] like most Americans, I have a habit of only sticking by my principles when it benefits me. Fighting against a coke tax might save me money. Standing up for someone’s right to light up in a bar or restaurant, thus […]

  6. […] Forget the soda tax, it’s time for a salad tax! The food police want to tax your Big Gulp and take away your Double Down sandwich. But it turns out salads might be a bigger health risk. Why not tax them? […]

  7. […] crowd hates more than delicious soda (pop, where I’m from). They want to ban it from schools and even tax it. But Coca-Cola, the great American company that brought us Santa Claus, isn’t giving up without a […]

  8. […] Meals. Schools, on the other hand, don’t particularly care if one or two kids disappear with E. coli poisoning—after all, it decreases class […]

  9. […] Of course an outright prohibition of something as American as Coca-Cola is a political non-starter. And the American people are pretty suspicious of efforts to tax soft drinks. […]

  10. […] We’ve all known that leafy greens are dangerous for some time. Tainted spinach, salmonella, e. coli, Cyclospora, you name it, salad has got it. Since 1990, over 13,000 people have been reported seriously ill as a result of eating contaminated salad. […]

  11. Brett says:

    you’re an idiot. But funny :)

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