Food Poisoning: Common foods to watch out for

Food Poisoning: Common foods to watch out for

Food Poisoning: Common foods to watch out for

by July 22, 2015 0 comments

Food poisoning is a relatively common problem that many people face at some point in their life, and although in most cases it’s not fatal, it is serious and can be particularly dangerous for vulnerable groups, such as children, the elderly and pregnant women. Sources of food contamination are various and include bacteria salmonella and listeria, which can be eliminated through cooking, but not all food we eat goes though heat treatment. Here are common food items that pose a major risk to your health and could lead to food poisoning.

 

 

Foods That Cause Food Poisoning:

Raw eggs

raw eggs

Raw eggs are very likely to give you food poisoning, accounting for more than hundreds of thousands of food-related illnesses in the last few years. Although the likelihood of getting food poisoning from raw eggs has decreased over the past couple of decades, they are still one of the “riskiest” foods you could be consuming.

 

It is the bacteria called salmonella that is to blame for food poisoning coming from raw eggs, and the trouble lies in the fact that salmonella can’t be detected before it enters the body and wreaks havoc.

 

Salmonella penetrates the eggs before they are even hatched, contaminating your food and posing a potential threat. Eggs are consumed raw when certain cakes or sweets are made or in instances in which people drink them for various reasons. The truth is, eggs are best consumed scrabbled, hard-boiled or coddled if you want all the benefits without exposing yourself to any risks.

 

Although chicken is definitely one of the most popular foods around, it is also one of the biggest offenders when it comes to food-borne illnesses. All poultry can cause food poisoning, but chicken accounts for the largest number of instances of stomach problems. If chicken is not defrosted or cooked properly it can lead to serious disease.

 

Anyone who handles raw chicken must make sure the meat doesn’t come into contact with other foods, especially if they aren’t cooked, because the bacteria found in chicken, such as campylobacter and salmonella, can cause dreadful food poisoning.

 

These bacteria are located in the intestines of the poultry and can come into contact with the human body after the bird is slaughtered. Chicken must be cooked for the right amount of time and at a certain temperature to protect everyone who will eat it.

 

Leafy green vegetables

Produce in general ranks as one of the top causes of food-borne illnesses, and leafy greens pose the largest risk when it comes to leading to stomach problems. Vegetables such as lettuce and spinach must be washed thoroughly to eliminate that risk. One of the ways to make sure your leafy greens are safe to eat is to soak them in water in which you add a teaspoon of baking soda.

 

Almost half of all food-borne illnesses are caused by produce, so you have to make sure you are well aware of the risks brought on by the foods you are feeding your family, as well as the ways in which you can avoid them.

 

Cooking your veggies for the right amount of time will definitely lower the risk of food-related illness, and so will purchasing produce from accountable sources. Although food-borne illnesses caused by leafy greens are usually not as dangerous as those caused by meat, they can still lead to diarrhoea, nausea, and stomach cramps.

 

Watermelons

Watermelon slices

Watermelons may not be the obvious choice, but  pose a serious threat when it comes to causing food poisoning simply because they are not washed before they are consumed.

 

Watermelons need to be scrubbed thoroughly before being cut, simply because if they are cut without being washed, the knife that goes through the rind picks up the bacteria and takes them right to the meat of the fruit.

 

Listeria and salmonella are the two bacteria responsible for watermelon-related illnesses and they need to be washed well before served to anyone, especially children and older individuals. Wash melons under running water, scrubbing with a brush if you feel that’s necessary.

 

Tuna

Tuna fish can pose a serious threat to your health and is one of the foods often left out of the lists of dangerous foods that can cause food poisoning. Tuna fish may carry scombroid toxins, which are the agents responsible for food-borne illnesses.

 

Scombroid toxins can occur in tuna that is left in a warm place for too long, so handling this fish properly is crucial for eliminating the risk. In most cases, scombroid toxins are found in fresh or raw tuna rather than canned tuna, which means canned tuna is safe in this aspect.

 

It should be noted that these toxins can’t be destroyed through the cooking process if they exist in the raw fish in the first place. The most common symptoms of food-borne illness brought on by tuna include nausea, cramps and diarrhea. Make sure you purchase tuna from reputable vendors that won’t leave the fish sitting at room temperature for too long.

 

Ice Cream

Ice cream is a type of food that many people are sad to see on this list, but the truth is ice cream poses a major risk to your health because it’s made out of dairy products. If the eggs or milk, for instance, used to make the ice cream contain salmonella, consuming such food will most likely lead to food poisoning.

 

Ice cream may be contaminated in various ways, from using contaminated ingredients to make the pre-mix, to not keeping the scoops clean. Listeria is another bacteria found in ice cream that can lead to large-scale food poisoning, while it is crucial to mention that ice cream products, such as sorbets and ice cream sandwiches, can also be affected.

 

Potatoes

Potatoes are unlikely offenders, however, bacteria such as salmonella and listeria are to blame for stomach problems associated with eating potatoes, and they are usually found on the kitchen counters and other areas where food is handled.

 

In the majority of cases, it’s not the potatoes that lead to a bacteria outbreak, but rather other contaminated foods that potatoes often come into contact with, such as salads, especially those containing dairy products or mayonnaise.

 

Washing potatoes properly and making sure never to use the same knives, cutting boards and other utensils when handling raw meat and other foods is one of the best ways to prevent food-borne illnesses, especially those associated with produce.

 

Cheese

Cheese

One of the main reasons why cheese is a food that is responsible for many food-related illnesses is the fact that several steps are necessary to make it, include including curdling, salting, and processing, leaving plenty of room for contamination.

 

Other more obvious reasons include using contaminated raw milk and milk not pasteurized properly, but the correct pasteurization process is usually what eliminates all the harmful bacteria and keeps cheese safe for consumption.

 

It should be noted that softer cheese, such as brie or camembert, are more likely to contain listeria, and they need to be purchased from reputable vendors to avoid any risks and unpleasant effects of contaminated food.

 

Tomatoes

tomatoes

Most people don’t associate tomatoes with food-borne illnesses, yet tomatoes are often a source of disease because they are consumed raw and are seldom subjected to high temperatures.

 

Not washing the produce that is eaten raw properly, including leafy greens and in this case, tomatoes, leaves everyone susceptible to serious stomach problems associated with bacteria that are commonly found in fresh produce but were never meant to enter the human body.

 

When it comes to tomatoes, it’s salmonella that is responsible for most illnesses, followed by Norovirus. Keep in mind that eating fresh fruits and veggies is necessary for a healthy diet, but so is purchasing them from accountable sources and serving them correctly.

 

 

Source: Vanguard

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