10 Foods That Can Make You Sick
The riskiest foods
Food poisoning is a horrible, even potentially life-threatening experience. But it’s hard to determine if food is safe to eat, partly because problems are relatively rare. But knowing which foods are potentially risky can help. The Center for Science in the Public Interest has issued a list of the top 10 FDA-regulated foods linked to outbreaks since 1990. (That includes produce, seafood, egg, and dairy products, but not meat). Be aware of the risk, but don’t avoid these types of food. “They are everywhere and are part of a healthy diet,” says CSPI staff attorney, Sarah Klein.
Yes, they’re your favorite go-to salad greens—lettuce, escarole, endive, spinach, cabbage, kale, arugula, and chard. But they also caused 363 outbreaks involving 13,568 reported cases of illness since 1990. (Remember bagged spinach in 2006?) Greens can be contaminated by manure, dirty water rinses, or unwashed hands before you even purchase them. To avoid getting sick, wash produce and prevent cross-contamination (improper handling of meat in the kitchen can spread bacteria to other types of food, including greens) by washing hands and using separate cutting boards.
This breakfast favorite has been linked to 352 outbreaks since 1990, most often due to Salmonella bacteria. The bacteria can lurk inside the egg, so proper cooking is key (which kills the germs). Avoid eating any products containing raw eggs, including cookie dough. “Our food supply is safe,” says Craig Hedberg, PhD, of the University of Minnesota School of Public Health in Minneapolis. “There is roughly one illness for every three to four thousand meals served,” he says. Still, “raw food items like eggs may have contamination and need to be handled properly.”
This type of fish can be contaminated by scombrotoxin, which causes flushing, headaches, and cramps. If it is stored above 60 degrees after being caught, fresh