Doesn't it seem like we're hearing about a new scary food recall every day? If you have any doubts about the safety of your food (hello, cookie dough!), this post might not be very encouraging. Still, knowledge is power, right? Read on for what some experts say is a list of 10 foods regulated by the FDA that have the highest chances of making you sick ...
The Center for Science in the Public Interest (the CSPI), compiled a list of foods that--statistically--are linked to more cases of illness and death than any other foods. Important note: Don't stop eating these foods, just take special caution when preparing them. See my notes below:
1. Leafy greens: 363 outbreaks involving 13,568 reported cases of illness
Stay-healthy tip: Even if the bag of pre-washed lettuce has been "triple washed"--wash it again. An extra rinse in your own kitchen may help rid your greens of residual bacteria that can make you sick. Still, in some cases, like the E.coli outbreak of last year, the entire plant may be infected with the pathogen.
2. Eggs: 352 outbreaks involving 11,163 reported cases of illness
Stay-healthy tip: Try not to eat raw cookie dough, gals (I know, it's tempting). Also, wash your hands after handling eggs (even if you just touch the shell).
3. Tuna: 268 outbreaks involving 2341 reported cases of illness
Stay-healthy tip: Sorry to say this, but I only trust reputable sushi restaurants when ordering raw fish in sushi. Grocery store varieties? I may save a buck, but it's not worth the risk to my health.
4. Oysters: 132 outbreaks involving 3409 reported cases of illness
Stay-healthy tip: A health expert once told me to only eat raw oysters in months that have an "r" in them. In these months, there may be less bacteria in waterways that can contribute to food poisoning--or so the theory goes.
5. Potatoes: 108 outbreaks involving 3659 reported cases of illness
Stay-healthy tip: Scrub, scrub, scrub those skins! Potatoes are grown in the dirt and prone to soil contamination.
6. Cheese: 83 outbreaks involving 2761 reported cases of illness
Stay-healthy tip: Be diligent about checking expiration dates. And, no, mold on cheese is not normal.
7. Ice cream: 74 outbreaks involving 2594 reported cases of illness
Stay-healthy tip: Consider buying organic ice cream--many are made in smaller batches and closer to home. Local or organic ice cream isn't free of risk, but since mass-produced food has been the center of mega food recalls in past years, small-batch food is looking more and more attractive.
8. Tomatoes: 31 outbreaks involving 3292 reported cases of illness
Stay-healthy tip: Just like potatoes, scrub, scrub, scrub!
9. Sprouts: 31 outbreaks involving 2022 reported cases of illness
Stay-healthy tip: Be sure to wash them well! (Duh!) A quick rinse won't do: Dredge them in water and rinse several times.
10. Berries: 25 outbreaks involving 3397 reported cases of illness
Stay-healthy tip: Pick your own--then take them home and wash them ... well! And remember, food is generally healthiest when it's in season. This doesn't mean that strawberries in January are unhealthy, it's just that the more people who handle your strawberries--in foreign countries where food is grown out of season, for instance--the more chances that your food may become contaminated. Remember, there's nothing wrong with frozen berries!
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