Posted by Steven McCall

Top five products for food poisoning

 

Some foods are far more likely to cause poisoning than others.  Factors such as processing and storage can also effect risk dramatically.  For example keeping seafood stored at an above freezing temperature can pretty much gaurentee a person will get sick.  It is alarming to think that the Center For Disease Control (CDC) recently states that roughly one quarter of all poultry facilities in the United States had sanitary conditions below their minimum requirements. Recently research revealed that more than half of raw chicken sold in US supermarkets was contaminated with Campylobacter bacteria and 4–5% was contaminated with Salmonella.  A lesser known bacteria, campylobacter is very dangerous and found throughout poultry.  These bacteria are very dangerous- especially to the elderly, pregnant woman and people with weakened immune systems.  Here are the top 5 most dangerous foods for poisoning potential.  

5) Deli Meat.  They can all become contaminated at any point during their long processing journey.  Deli meats are one of the worst food sources imaginable and the possibility of food poisoning is only one component.  It can become contaminated by contact with other tainted meat or by poor kept sanitary conditions.  Anything from the slicer being unkept to the employees hands being dirty can ad to the chances.  The overwhelming amount of salt and preservatives alone should be a turn off but this really helps cold cuts be on any bad food list.  Listeria can usually be found in single digit percentages of randomly tested meats.

4) Rice.  One of the oldest foods on earth and a main food source to over half the worlds population, rice is also a high risk when it comes to food poisoning.  Uncooked rice can become contaminated with spores of Bacillus Cereus, a bacterium that produces toxins capable of causing food poisoning.  These bacteria spores are resilient and can live for extended periods in dry conditions and even survive the cooking process itself.  

3) Seafood.  This is a wide-spectrum term but it is important to stress the importance of keeping seafood ice cold.  Exposed to warmer tempscreates a high risk of histamine contamination.  This is a toxin produced by bacteria in fish.  Histamine is not destroyed by normal cooking temps and can be deadly.  This is a food poisoning known as scombroid.  Symptoms include wheezing, nausea and swelling of the face.  Shellfish can also contain toxins that produce similar symptoms.  Another risk factor is getting seafood from polluted areas.  Always cook clams or mussels until they open up.  When the open you'll see that some do not follow suit.  Throw the unopened ones out as they were already dead before the cooking even began.  

2) Green Veggies.  Yes, they are an amazing source of raw nutrition but have still been linked to many food poisoning outbreaks.  Within the past year there was endless news coverage about E. coli in romaine lettuce throughout the United States.  Leafy green plants can become contaminated with harmful bacteria such as E coli Salmonella and Listeria.  Dirty water, unsanitary processing conditions and unsafe storage conditions can all lead to tainted greens.  In fact, in the forty year period from 1973 and 2012 85% of food poisoning outbreaks caused by leafy greens were traced to food prepared by restaurants or caterers.

1) Poultry.  Raw and undercooked paultry has a very high risk of food poisoning from Salmonella and Campylobacter.  A recent study found that 40-84% if raw chicken sold in the US and UK was contaminated with Campylobacter while 4-5% was contaminated with salmonella  Campylobacter contamination was also found in raw turkey (14-56%) and in raw duck (36%).  A huge risk in dealing with poultry is cross contamination- cutting boards, utensils etc.  Always make sure chicken is cooked more than thoroughly.