15 Notorious Food Scares

Terrifying outbreaks of illness and death have been caused by food through the years

Europe is beginning to recover from the recent E. coli outbreak that claimed at least 30 lives. But it really makes you think. Isn't Germany supposed to be the paragon of efficiency? If it took the Germans all that time to figure out which bean sprouts were to blame for killing people and sickening more than 3,000 others — the Germans — is anyone safe?

Listeria, hepatitis A, botulism, E. coli, typhoid, these are some pretty heavy, dangerous things we're talking about, and they've been the culprits behind some scary outbreaks of illnesses through the years. And the sources have often been rather unassuming — products and places that you wouldn't think of being nefarious. Nestlé Toll House chocolate chip cookie dough, Chi-Chi's, Taco Bell — you're talking about the fabric of Middle America.

That's the scary thing — cross-contamination, careless cooking and cleaning, and misused chemicals — these things can go completely undetected, only to be discovered once someone reports being sick. Even then, it can take a while to track the sources of illness and stop its spread. You can only hope that officials can to act quickly and responsibly, and that improved practices can be put in place to prevent similar outbreaks from happening again.

So where does the German E. coli outbreak fall on a list of some of the most infamous food scares on record?

Click here for 15 Notorious Food Scares Slideshow.

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