For most people who get food poisoning, the symptoms are unpleasant, but they rarely lead to serious health problems. But for infants, the elderly, and people with poor immune systems, food poisoning can be deadly. Most cases of food poisoning are caused by bacteria, such as E.coli or Staphylococcus, growing in food that’s been improperly handled or contaminated with bacteria at the time it was purchased. What are the most common foods that cause food poisoning?
The Most Common Causes of Food Poisoning: Chicken
Most health experts recommend eating more chicken since it’s lower in fat than red meat – and is a good source of protein. On the other hand, chicken can leave a pretty sour taste in your mouth if it’s mishandled and leads to a bad case of food poisoning.
According to the Center for Disease Control, chicken tops the list of foods most likely to cause foodborne illness. Salmonella and Staph are two bacteria that are common in chicken and other poultry, but poultry-related food poisoning is also caused by bacteria called campylobacter.
The way to avoid food poisoning from chicken and other poultry is to cook it thoroughly – to at least 175 degrees Fahrenheit. The juices should be clear when you cut into the chicken – not red or pink. Any utensils or plates that touch raw chicken should be thoroughly washed and disinfected before reusing them to avoid spreading bacteria that may be present in the raw meat. When thawing chicken, do it in the refrigerator and never keep refrigerator leftovers for longer than four days. Always wash you hands after handling raw chicken.
Contaminated Beef is a Common Cause of Food Poisoning
Beef is the second most common cause of food poisoning – with undercooked hamburger being the top offender. The same precautions that apply to chicken should be followed for beef. Most sources recommend cooking beef to at least 160 degree Fahrenheit. To avoid getting food poisoning when eating out, ask that your meat to be prepared “well done”.
You Can Even Get Food Poisoning From Veggies and Fruits
Animal products are more likely to cause food poisoning, but food poisoning involving leafy vegetables has made the news more than once recently. Green, leafy vegetables such as lettuce and spinach are the most frequently contaminated with bacteria. Lettuce is also likely to be a problem since it isn’t cooked. Melons, berries, and sprouts are other plant sources susceptible to contamination with unfriendly bacteria.
To avoid food poisoning from green, leafy vegetables, wash them thoroughly even if you buy them in a bag that’s labeled “pre-washed”. Studies show that pre-washed veggies can still contain “bad bacteria”. For now, stay away from alfalfa sprouts since they’ve been strongly linked to Salmonella contamination.
Common Causes of Food Poisoning: The Bottom Line?
To avoid getting food poisoning, cook all meats thoroughly and as well as any utensils that touch raw meat to avoid spreading bacteria. Wash all vegetables thoroughly before serving them. Take a few precautions before eating. Food poisoning is no day in the park.
Medical News Today. “Poultry Beef And Leafy Vegetables Most Common Causes Of Food Poisoning, USA”