While we all grew up hoping that Pizza would one day be considered a vegetable, it turns out American congress has done just that and officially ruled pizza as a vegetable, or at least, kind of. Previously members of American Congress ruled that pizza has enough vegetable content to be considered one for school lunches. But could a food that’s considered safe enough to be used in school lunches really be dangerous enough to cause an injury? Well, according to a reported 2,300 injuries.. it can!
On September 5th, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission took to Twitter to acknowledge an unusual statistic: the fact that over 2,300 emergency room visits were associated with the tasty Italian-originated treat, pizza in 2017 alone.
The report clearly outlines and explains that “injuries included, but were not limited to: cuts from cutting pizza, burns from cooking and handling the food, falling while carrying pizza, falling in pizza places, and even falling out of bed while reaching for a slice of pizza.” Weird, right? While the chances of these same injuries occurring with just about any food seems pretty high, it turns out that most other meals don’t have the amount of sauce or cheese that pizza typically does, reducing the risk of it happening with others.
How do we know this strange number? Well, it turns out that the consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) collects all of the injury reports and admission data from a collective 96 hospitals in the United States and United States territories. The commission then proceeds to take all of this data and compile it into its trusted National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) as a way of keeping tabs on consumer product-related injuries. If major trends arise in certain areas, the CPSC know where to pay special attention to, and potentially even intervene in order to keep everything running smoothly.Originally, a mere 63 injuries reported last year could be linked to the food. But, when its Epidemiology department dug a little deeper, it was able to determine there were actually over 35 times more pizza accidents that took place.
The Social Media Specialist for the CPSC, Joe Galby told Munchies, “Pizza is a good example of NEISS data.. The FDA obviously regulates food, but we can find injuries associated with pizza by looking for it in the injury descriptions we receive from hospitals. Based on these reports our NEISS team uses an equation to create a national estimate of injuries.”
Galby later explained to Munchies, “I wish we could make a call on how Americans are doing as far as eating pizza, but since the number of injuries is so low from year to year it wouldn’t be scientifically appropriate to say that the change in injuries is statistically significant.”
Social media specialist, Galby also advises that consumers to “make sure you’re wearing personal protective equipment”, aka oven mits and an apron while cooking, and to use safety precautions while cutting into your delicious, gooey meal.
While such a high number of injuries based around a common, unsuspecting food could be seen as humorous or be taken light-heartedly, the figure is just another reminder of surprising ways people can get hurt when they don’t take simple precautions. Food-related injuries in general are a good reminder that if we have “more mindfulness” about even the most simple every-day tasks, we’ll be less accident-prone.
A number of other common, every-day items have made the list of supposedly nonthreatening items that cause more harm, including Books that were surprisingly associated with an incredible 12,000 injuries last year, according to the CPSC, and Video games which were linked with over 10,000 injuries in 2017, and almost 8,000 which were associated with a common backpack.