Eating undercooked foods may be hazardous to your health....

So the menu says at many a trendy seafood restaurant. If you are as much of a sushi lover as I am, you most likely brush off the warning and get your favorite raw sea creature anyway. However, as you can see from the map below, which shows food borne illness outbreaks over the past 20 years (normalized by population), those warnings are no joking matter. Oysters, mahi-mahi and Ahi tuna have more outbreaks combined than beef and chicken, despite being consumed in far fewer quantities.

Hawaii leads the nation in food borne illness, with over 28 cases per 100,000 residents. That's almost 3x the next highest, Alaska, and no surprise given the amount of seafood consumed in the state. I must also point out to my fellow Washingtonians that our laissez-faire attitude toward raw oysters is not doing us any favors- we are in the top 5 most outbreak prone states.

So, enjoy your next meal. Just remember, it may not taste as good well done but it sure stays down better. Trust me, I am a norovirus "survivor"!

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