We all love to eat and entertain. Or go out for a meal. It’s always a good idea to be aware of some of the foods that can cause food poisoning. Let’s take a look.
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
While often ignored, millions of Americans are diagnosed with foodborne outbreaks yearly. According to the CDC, food poisoning is the primary cause of 3,000 deaths yearly. While you can’t see the germs responsible for food poisoning, you should take various steps to prevent exposure.
The best way to avoid food poisoning is to ensure food safety. Proper cleaning, storage, and food preparation are crucial to preventing food poisoning. Commercial food handlers should employ sophisticated food inspection procedures, such as x-ray food inspection machines from TDI Packsys, to guarantee food safety. Even then, some food items are more likely to cause food poisoning than others. They include:
1. Raw or Undercooked Meat
Meat is a common ingredient in most recipes. Unfortunately, you can easily contract foodborne illnesses from raw or undercooked meat. Unknown to most people, meat harbors a lot of harmful pathogens and bacteria that cause several health issues. If meat isn’t cooked properly, these pathogens survive and pass on to the consumer.
Raw or poorly cooked beef, pork, poultry, and other meat contain salmonella, which causes fever, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. These meats also contain E. coli, which causes severe gastrointestinal distress and kidney complications.
You should cook meat to the recommended temperatures. Doing this kills all the harmful microorganisms. Poultry should be cooked to temperatures of 73˚ C, while cuts like roasts and steaks should be cooked to over 63˚C.
2. Unpasteurized Dairy Products
Unpasteurized dairy products, which include raw milk and cheeses, can also cause foodborne illnesses. Unfortunately, these are common food products in your kitchen, and most people don’t mind taking bites. Unlike pasteurized products, unpasteurized dairy products haven’t undergone heat treatment, which kills harmful bacteria.
Raw milk and its products contain various dangerous microorganisms, including listeria, campylobacter, salmonella, and E. coli. These microbes cause several health issues, including gastrointestinal discomforts and other life-threatening conditions, especially for children, pregnant women, and immunocompromised persons.
While some people claim raw milk has potential health benefits, the risks of consuming unprocessed milk outweigh the risks. Pasteurization reduces the risk of contracting foodborne illnesses and improves food safety.
3. Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are important components of healthy diets. If you are on a healthy diet, you probably take fruits and vegetables every meal. While the health benefits of these foods can’t be questioned, they can cause foodborne illnesses if not prepared or handled properly.
Contaminated fruits and vegetables harbor harmful bacteria and viruses that cause digestive problems and other serious health issues. You should handle these foods properly to reduce the risks of foodborne illnesses. Simple procedures, such as washing them in running water before consumption, are crucial.
4. Raw Seafood
Seafood has always been popular, especially during holidays. Unfortunately, while raw seafood like oysters, mussels and sushi provide a delicious experience, they do come with certain risks if not handled and cooked right. Raw seafood exposes you to potential pathogens that cause food poisoning.
You should specifically be worried about vibrio bacteria. This bacterium thrives in warm seawater and is typically present in oysters and other types of shellfish. Food poisoning resulting from vibrio consumption are characterised by vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and high fevers.
Norovirus is the other common pathogen found in raw seafood. It is a contagious virus that causes outbreaks of gastrointestinal issues. Since seafood is consumed preferably raw, ensure that you obtain them from reputable sources to prevent infection.
5. Processed Meats
Sausages, hot dogs, and other processed meats are common household foods and ingredients in endless recipes. While they are perfect for snacking, processed meats are linked to various health risks because of additives and processing methods.
Processed meats contain high amounts of sodium, additives, and preservatives. These additions contribute to several health issues, such as heart disease, hypertension, and some forms of cancer. Processed meats can also get contaminated with bacteria during processing. You can avoid or minimize the health risks of processed meats by:
- Moderation: Limiting consumption of processed meats in your home.
- Finding alternatives: Choose whole cuts of lean meat and poultry instead of processed options.
- Read labels: Always check product labels for the levels of sodium and additives included.
To Wrap it Up
Food poisoning is surprisingly a common yet ignored health issue. Fortunately, simple practices, such as washing your hands thoroughly, separating raw and cooked food to prevent cross-contamination, and handling food correctly, can help you avoid these issues.