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More Home Kitchens Would Fail Restaurant Inspections Than Restaurants

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Just to freak everyone out a little more on the subject of tainted food--which the Associated Press estimates leads to 371,000 hospitalizations and 5,700 deaths each year, out of 87 million cases of food-borne illness in the US each year--it now turns out that the kitchen in your home may be dirtier than the one at the local Taco Bell.

The most highly-publicized outbreaks generally focus on, as recently seen, a brand of eggs or, say, ground beef from a specific production plant. But, according to some experts, most food poisonings go unreported--and are caused by food prepared at home.

A new study performed by Los Angeles County study, which will be published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, found that "only 61 percent of home kitchens would get an A or B if put through the rigors of a restaurant inspection. At least 14 percent would fail — not even getting a C," while "nearly all Los Angeles County restaurants — 98 percent — get A or B scores each year."

Some quibbles with the study's methods have raised doubts about its accuracy, so the numbers may be somewhat inaccurate.

Good news, right?

Um, well...

Martin Bucknavage, a food safety specialist with Penn State University's Department of Food Science, said that "a more comprehensive look would probably find that an even smaller percentage of home kitchens would do well in a restaurant inspection."

Maybe this is exactly what we need to get the nation's restaurant industry out of the doldrums? Did someone say "conspiracy theory"???
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