How would you rate your food-safety IQ? I know someone who never washes their fruits and vegetables after bringing them home from the market because he believes that they're washed at the store. Um, no. Read on to learn about what some call the "5 dirtiest foods" and for a food safety wake-up call...
The dirty food list, according to this fascinating piece I found over at AOL Health include the following:
Eggs: While most eggs aren't going to make anyone sick, experts estimate that more than 2 million germy eggs (as in Salmonella infected) get into circulation each year, sickening 660,000 people each year and killing as many as 300. Um, maybe we should think twice about eating that cookie dough (or, judging by our conversation on Vitamin G, perhaps you'd rather take your chances?). How to buy cleaner eggs? Make sure the carton says they're pasteurized and never buy a dozen that contains any obvious cracks or leaks.
Peaches: They're pretty, but that's just skin-deep. Health experts warn that peach skins are doused in pesticides before they make it to grocery store to prevent blemishes. On average, a peach can contain as many as nine different pesticides, according to the USDA. This is one fruit you might want to buy organic (which may have blemishes, but won't have pesticides). (Here's How Peaches Can Help You Build Muscle.)
Pre-packaged salad mixes: Surprise! "Triple washed" doesn't mean germ-free say experts. Pathogens may still be lurking so be sure to wash your greens before tossing in your salad bowl. (Don't make these salad mistakes!)
Melons: Get ready to be grossed out. According to the article, "when the FDA sampled domestically grown cantaloupe, it found that 3.5 percent of the melons carried Salmonella and Shigella, the latter a bacteria normally passed person-to-person. Among imported cantaloupe, 7 percent tested positive for both bugs." Ewww. Your best bet: Scrub your melons with a little mild dish soap and warm water before slicing. (Stay healthy with these delicious winter fruits!)
Scallions: Blamed for several recent outbreaks of Hepatitis A, and other bugs like the parasite Cryptosporidium, Shigella and Salmonella, scallions present a food safety problem because of the way they grow (in the dirt) and lack of proper washing. While you can't control what happens in restaurant kitchens, you can give them a super-duper washing at home before cooking with.
Other dirty foods in the article include chicken, ground beef and turkey, raw oysters, and cold cuts. Click here to read 5 more.
The bottom line: Don't be afraid to eat these foods, just be aware of the precautions you need to take before enjoying them. Most food-borne illnesses are the result of hygiene carelessness somewhere in the food chain. Protect yourself!
On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your food safety awareness and diligence? Do you wash all your produce? How about pre-packaged salad mixes? And what about melons? Do any of you wash the exterior with soap and water before slicing. I do, and I'm patting myself on the back right now.VITAMIN G: