When you eat contaminated food, food poisoning happens. And, sadly some food items are more likely to cause food poisoning than others, so edibles like poultry and fish could make you end up in the emergency room. However, it doesn’t mean you can’t eat them anymore.
You just have to check them better before cooking them. If not, symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, stomach cramps, loss of appetite, and nausea could occur. And if you’re living with a chronic disease, you should be more cautious of what you’re eating.
Doctors say that people with chronic diseases are at a much greater risk of becoming ill with food poisoning. That’s why you should be aware of the foods that are more likely to cause food poisoning.
Undercooked or raw poultry like turkey, duck, and chicken, of course, can force you to visit your doctor. Consuming contaminated poultry could lead to food poisoning mainly due to some bacteria, Salmonella and Campylobacter.
These two types of bacteria are usually found in the feathers and the guts of chickens, turkeys, ducks, and other birds, so to minimize the risk, you have to make sure you’re cooking them properly. A study found that as much as 80 percent of the raw chicken sold in our supermarkets could be contaminated with Campylobacter bacteria and 5 percent with Salmonella.
When it came to turkey meat, the rates of Campylobacter contamination were lower (30 percent).
However, there’s good news, too. All these harmful types of bacteria can be eliminated entirely if you cook meat accordingly. It’s also equally important to ensure that raw meat doesn’t come in contact with kitchen surfaces, utensils, chopping boards, and other foods.
It’s essential to avoid cross-contamination because the harmful bacteria found in poultry could contaminate, let’s say, your Romain lettuce. If it happens, toss it.
What you need to remember is that undercooked or raw poultry are the main culprits of food poisoning. So, to shrink the risk, you must cook turkey, duck, and chicken meat properly; it’s the only surefire way to get rid of harmful bacteria.
Vegetables and Leafy Greens
It’s not a surprise (at least not for most vegans out there) that leafy greens and vegetables are a pretty common source of food poisoning. As a matter of fact, throughout the last decade, veggies and fruits have resulted in a number of food poisoning outbreaks.
Most of them were caused by lettuce, celery, spinach, tomatoes, and cabbage. It’s crucial to bear in mind that leafy greens and veggies can be contaminated with Listeria, E.coli, and Salmonella. Contamination of these harmful bacteria can occur at any time. From the dirty runoff process to storing them improperly, contamination can happen across many stages of the veggie and leafy green supply.
In fact, it can also happen due to unhygienic food preparation practices. That’s why it’s best to stay away from fresh salads when you’re eating out, especially when it’s a new restaurant for you. However, between the two (veggies and leafy greens), leafy greens are most likely to make you end up in the ER.
Because they are often consumed raw, doctors tend to report more cases of food poisoning from leafy greens than from veggies. To be more precise, more than 85 percent of the food poisoning outbreaks in our country were caused by leafy greens such as lettuce, cabbage, spinach, and kale.
Before consuming leafy greens, wash them properly, and please avoid eating salads from catering facilities and restaurants.
Fish and Shellfish
Another common source of food poisoning is fish. Fish that haven’t been stored at the right temperature, for instance, could make you ill. This occurs when the fish you’re about to consume contains a toxin (histamine) produced by bacteria found in it.
Normal cooking temperatures can’t destroy histamine, resulting in scombroid poisoning, which is basically a type of food poisoning. Scombroid poisoning comes with a lot of symptoms, including wheezing, swelling of the tongue and face, and nausea.
Contaminated fish can also cause ciguatera fish poisoning. This type of food poisoning happens due to ciguatoxin, a toxin found in tropical waters. According to stats, as many as 50,000 individuals who live in tropical areas get ciguatera fish poisoning every single year.
The worst part? Normal cooking temperatures can’t destroy this toxin.
On the other side, shellfish can be as harmful as fish when it comes to food poisoning. Still, store-bought shellfish are safe to eat. So, it would be best to consume store-bought shellfish from now on. Plus, you should make sure that fish is cooked through and mussels, oysters, and clams until their shells open.
P.S.: If the shells of some oysters won’t open, throw them.
Rice is definitely a food staple in most cultures. More than half of the world’s population consumes this cereal grain and… for good reasons. However, when it comes to its food poisoning risks, we can’t say it’s the best choice.
Uncooked rice can actually be contaminated with a bacterium called Bacillus cereus. This bacterium makes certain toxins that are responsible for food poisoning. And, sadly, Bacillus cereus can survive the cooking process. That’s why it is not recommended to leave your rice leftovers at room temperature, as this bacterium can thrive and easily multiply in moist and warm environments.
Basically, the longer rice is left at room temperature, the more likely you are to become ill with food poisoning. Therefore, if you want to minimize the risk, make sure you put your leftover rice in the refrigerator.
Deli meats such as hot dogs, ham, salami, bacon, chorizo, pepperoni, beef jerky, and sausages can all be sources of food poisoning. All of them can be contaminated with bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus and Listeria.
The contamination can happen during manufacturing and processing due to contaminated raw meat, poor hygiene, cross-contamination from unsanitized equipment, or poor cleaning practices. It’s good to remember that pre-packaged deli meat products have led to a smaller number in Listeria cases than deli meats packaged at deli counters.
For what it’s worth, you shouldn’t even consume deli meats, as they could threaten your overall health.
Some would disagree, but you should always choose pasteurized dairy. The pasteurization process ensures that the dairy product doesn’t have any more harmful microorganisms. In other words, pasteurized dairy products don’t contain parasites and bacteria such as Cryptosporidium, Brucella, E. coli, Campylobacter, Salmonella, and Listeria.
Why on earth do you think that the sale of unpasteurized milk products is illegal in 20 U.S. states? Because unpasteurized milk is 200 times more likely to cause a sort of food poisoning than pasteurized one. So, if you don’t want to end up hospitalized, it’s best to purchase only pasteurized products.
Ahh, and make sure you keep all dairy products under 40°F.
As nutritious and healthy as they are, eggs have a pitfall: they could make you sick. Like most of the foods listed here, eggs are another healthy source of food poisoning. But this could happen when you consume them undercooked or raw.
Did you know that eggs can actually carry Salmonella bacteria? The contamination can be on both the eggshell and inside the egg. Every single year, there are about 80,000 cases of Salmonella-contaminated eggs in our country, and some of them result in death.
So, to minimize the risk, do not eat eggs with dirty/cracked shells and avoid recipes that require lightly cooked eggs.
Healthy and tasty? Most fruits are, but they could also result in hospitalization. Even one of the healthiest fruit on the planet (berries) could make you ill. The same applies to most fruits grown on the ground like watermelon, cantaloupe, and berries have a higher risk of causing food poisoning with Listeria.
Out of all we’ve mentioned above, cantaloupe has the highest risk due to its skin. It’s kind of difficult to remove Listeria bacteria and other bacteria from cantaloupes. As for berries, they are usually contaminated with both bacteria and viruses (hepatitis A virus), and the main culprits are poor hygiene practices of pickers, contaminated waters, and, of course, cross-contamination.
It is essential to wash fruits before consuming them. And not just the ones we’ve named here, but all fruits, in general.
Are you craving a healthy, tasty, and crunchy salad? If so, you have to check this article first: 11 Amazing Salads You Can Make in 15 Minutes