Strolling through the grocery store, many consumers believe strict guidelines have been followed when handling the raw foods they are about to buy. Rarely do people jot down shopping lists with the precursor of checking for bacteria like E.Coli, Salmonella or Listeria, but these bacteria are present in many foods consumed each year causing massive outbreaks of food borne illness. The top 10 foods that might make you sick are common ingredients in home and restaurant meals.
Chicken is typically mass processed in large factories kept at lower temperatures to protect consumer from food borne illness, but these precautions are not always effective. A study completed by the Consumers Union reported health threatening bacteria in at least 42% of the 484 chickens tested.
Ground beef is included on the top 10 foods that might make you sick not because of E. Coli, but because of Clostridium perfringens. While the humans body typically contains antibodies against the bacterium, cramping and diarrhea can result within 10 to 12 hours. It is estimated, by the USDA, that 53% of all ground beef may contain the bacteria.
Some people choose ground turkey as a healthy alternative to ground beef, but that may not be the case. The FDA tested ground samples and found Listeria and Salmonella.
Green Leafy Vegetables
E. Coli and Salmonella could be raging in that spinach salad. According to the CDC, green leafy vegetables are the most common cause of food borne illness outbreaks in the United States.
Undercooked eggs are a breeding zone for a variety of bacteria that can cause severe intestinal distress and even death in people with compromised immune systems. Salmonella is the most common food borne bacteria with risks of contamination being higher in a restaurant setting when hundreds of eggs are used at any given time.
Few people look to tuna as the reason they come down with cramping and diarrhea, but it may be the places we least expect that are to blame. Tuna is typically prepared with eggs and eggs may contain salmonella.
The outer covering of the cantaloupe is to blame for the spread of food borne illness. Washing the outside of the cantaloupe may seem sufficient, but the texture makes it difficult to remove all bacteria. Once cut, the bacteria moves into the melon and illness may result. The most common bacteria found on cantaloupe is Salmonella. Eating cantaloupe in a buffet setting can greatly increase the risk of infection.
Prepackaged or Bagged Lettuce and Salad
Bagged lettuce often reads “pre-washed” but consumers are increasing the risk of eating contaminated foods if they listen to that claim. E. Coli has been found in many sources of prepackaged lettuce. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, at least 11% of all bagged lettuce could contain the deadly bacteria.
Grouping restaurant foods as a whole, consumers are more likely to contract a food borne disease by eating out than they are by eating at home. Restaurants typically cook foods to order, which can lead to significant risk especially when ordering rare or medium rare meat. Mass production of foods like eggs and foods containing eggs can also increase the risk of illness.
Little did you know that eating a green onion raw can cause death. Green onions can carry Hepatitis A, which can lead to death in as little as three days. The last outbreak caused three deaths and sickness in 575 patrons dining and working in a Chi Chi’s restaurant.