Every year, millions of people become ill from the foods that they eat. Harmful bacteria are the most common sources of food-borne illnesses and foods can become contaminated at almost any phase of the preparation or production phase. However, if you’ve ever wondered what the most common culprits are, we’ve broken down the worst offenders.
This is a surprising item since most people think meats are the most likely foods to contain harmful bacteria. However, many people do not wash their greens and if the greens are grown in waste, they can be contaminated easily. Leafy greens are responsible for about a fourth of non-meat outbreaks. So, if you enjoy eating salads or other greens on a regular basis, make sure to wash them thoroughly before consuming.
Most egg outbreaks are caused by salmonella poisoning. Although you can experience external contamination from the shell, it’s much more likely that the contamination is inside the egg. And, most of these cases are actually found in restaurants. The key to keeping yourself safe from salmonella poisoning is to cook your eggs thoroughly and avoid non or partially cooked eggs in a restaurant setting.
Fresh fish decays very quickly after being caught so it should come as no surprise that tuna is one of the worst offenders when it comes to food poisoning. With tuna, expect to see scombroid poisoning caused by a toxin in the fish known as scombrotoxin. When you purchase tuna to prepare at home, make sure that you keep it frozen or refrigerated as much as possible. You’ll also want to make sure that you only order tuna at restaurants that have high ratings for their health inspections to avoid the risk of food poisoning.
Oysters are a popular food to enjoy on the half-shell and they’re a common appetizer at many restaurants. While fresh oysters are a delicacy like no other, they can also offer some risk. The best time to enjoy oysters is near the coast in a restaurant that is known for their oysters. When you have them further inland or from a less reputable restaurant, you’re taking a risk with this food. Also, if you’re not familiar with storing or preparing oysters, you may want to avoid making them yourself. To avoid foodborne illness from this seafood, leave it to the real experts.
Cheese is often thought of as being safe from foodborne illness since it is a type of controlled mold. However, cheese can be easily spoiled, especially if you commonly purchase or make non pasteurized orraw cheeses. For the best results, keep cheese refrigerated at all times and discard cheese that has any mold grown on it. With this advice, you’ll significantly decrease your chance of becoming ill.
It’s probably impossible to avoid ever having some sort of food poisoning, but you can significantly decrease your chances by following certain handling, storing, and preparation practices. To be even safer, make sure that you only eat foods prepared by restaurants that have high food inspection scores.