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Top Foods Most Likely to Give You Food Poisoning

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Food poisoning is an illness caused by eating or drinking food or beverages that contain harmful bacteria, viruses or parasites.

It is extremely common and affects approximately 9.4 million Americans each year.

Although many foods contain potentially harmful organisms, they are usually destroyed during cooking.

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However, if you don’t practice good hygiene and proper food storage methods, such as washing your hands and keeping raw meat in the back of your refrigerator, even cooked foods can be contaminated and make you sick.

Eating foods that contain toxic toxins can also cause food poisoning. These toxins may be naturally occurring in foods, such as certain species of fungi, or produced by bacteria in spoiled foods.

Because there are many different types of organisms that can cause food poisoning, its symptoms and severity can vary.

In addition, the time between food poisoning and the onset of symptoms can range from a few hours to a few days, making it difficult to identify the offending food.

Some foods have a higher risk of food poisoning than others. These include undercooked meat and chicken, eggs, unpasteurized dairy products, shellfish and unwashed fruits and vegetables.

This article lists Top Foods Most Likely to Give You Food Poisoning.

Brussels sprouts
These are seeds that have sprouted. Raw or lightly cooked sprouts, especially clover and alfalfa, have been the cause of several food poisoning outbreaks each year since 2006. The warm, moist conditions that feed the sprouts also promote salmonella, listeria and E. coli. You might be tempted to throw these antioxidant-packed sprouts into your salads and sandwiches. But it’s safer to cook the sprouts first. Washing won’t kill the sprouts.

Raw Milk
This is one of the most dangerous sources of foodborne illness and is illegal in some states. It is milk from animals that has not been heated, or pasteurized, to kill bacteria. Raw milk can harbor E. coli, listeria, campylobacter and salmonella. They can cause diarrhea for days, vomiting and serious illnesses such as Guillain-Barré syndrome, which can lead to paralysis. Check the container of your milk to make sure it is pasteurized, especially at farmers’ markets.

Eggs
Each year, salmonella-contaminated eggs cause 79,000 cases of food poisoning and 30 deaths in the United States. Chickens can transmit salmonella to eggs before the shells form. The bacteria can also infect eggs through poultry poop. Refrigerate eggs at or below 40 F. Some products and recipes call for uncooked eggs. Use pasteurized eggs (they are hard to find) or DIY by soaking eggs in water at 140 F using sous vide for at least 3½ minutes. The eggs may thicken slightly.

Flour
You probably wouldn’t dip a spoon into raw flour to eat it. But what about cookie dough or cake batter? It’s rare, but raw flour can become contaminated with E. coli during harvesting, milling and sifting. Bleaching the flour does not kill the E. coli, which can cause bloody diarrhea, vomiting, and even kidney failure and death. Canned cake mixes and prepared cookie dough can also harbor germs.

Lettuce in a bag
Fresh salads are another major source of food poisoning. But determining the cause can be difficult. Some outbreaks are linked to a specific type of salad, often romaine lettuce and spinach, or to certain growers or packers. Salmonella and other bacteria can be linked to dirty irrigation water, soil or human hands. The germs multiply in the juice of cut leaves and can get stuck inside the bags. They can cling to the leaves even after washing.

Chicken
This poultry is the number one choice of meat for Americans. And every year, about a million of us get sick from eating chicken. Like all animals, chickens have bacteria in their gut. Pathogens such as campylobacter and salmonella can get on poultry during processing and packaging, and spread to your cutting board and utensils. Don’t wash raw chicken as it can contaminate your kitchen. Cooking to the right temperature kills bacteria.

Pre-cut melon
Each year, 1.35 million people in the United States contract Salmonella. Nearly 27,000 of them are hospitalized. Infections are most common in the summer, when more of us eat watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew melon. Vines grow on the ground, where the rinds can be contaminated with germs. Their surface can be difficult to disinfect. Pre-cut melons can transmit norovirus, listeria and other harmful agents. Whole, washed melons are best. Refrigerate pre-cut fruit or wrap it in ice.

Oysters
Tasting fresh oysters just out of their shells is a real treat for the eyes. These mollusks draw their food from coastal waters through their gills. They trap viruses and bacteria in the same way. Eating contaminated raw oysters can lead to vibriosis, which causes diarrhea, vomiting, fever and chills in more than 80,000 Americans each year. You can also get norovirus, sometimes called “stomach flu.” The only safe way to enjoy oysters is to cook them.

Raw milk cheeses
It is much riskier to eat soft, raw milk cheeses than pasteurized cheeses. You are 160 times more likely to get listeria from queso fresco, feta, brie, camembert and blue-veined varieties like roquefort. Listeria can spread beyond your intestine and cause headaches, loss of balance and seizures. It can also cause miscarriage, stillbirth or premature delivery. And your newborn can get listeria from you.

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