06-27-2004, 05:04 PM
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Join Date: Aug 1999
10 dirtiest foods
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Magazine Lists Healthy Suggestions
POSTED: 2:04 pm EDT April 30, 2004
UPDATED: 11:00 pm EDT April 30, 2004
WASHINGTON -- There aren't many things that can ruin your day like a case of food poisoning. It can be unpleasant and sometimes it can be dangerous.
The Centers for Disease Control says that food-borne illnesses kill 5,000 people every year.
You can't always prevent it: but you can get smart about which foods have higher risks.
The Centers for Disease Control says that every one of us will have some kind of sickness from something we eat this year. More than 200,000 Americans get some kind of food-borne illness every day.
You might know what made you ill, or you might never connect your discomfort to something you ate.
And even if you think you know how to prevent food poisoning, you might be surprised to learn where some food germs could be lurking.
10 Dirtiest Foods
Men's Health Magazine came out with a list of what it calls the top 10 dirtiest foods. And some of them are no surprise.
Chicken, ground beef, and ground turkey are the top three. All of them can pick up germs when they're processed, and if you cook them thoroughly, they should be safe to eat.
Raw oysters are No. 4. Cook them, unless you want to risk swallowing some salmonella or e coli.
Eggs are No. 5. Make sure you cook these, too.
No. 6 on the list of dirtiest foods: Cantaloupe. You may not think to wash the outside of the melon because you never eat that part.
"Your knife will go over the outside, and if there is bacteria, it will be taken into the inside," said Lisa Lachenmayr of the University of Maryland cooperative extension.
You should wash every kind of melon with soapy water before you slice it: honeydew, watermelon and bananas, too.
No. 7's another fruit: Peaches. They put a lot of pesticides on them to get them to the store blemish-free. Wash them thoroughly before you eat them.
Prepackaged lettuce is No. 8 on the dirtiest foods list. The label says it's pre-washed, but e coli on prepackaged lettuce made dozens of people on the West Coast sick last year and the year before. Wash it yourself if you want to be sure it's safe.
No. 9 may surprise you: Cold cuts.
"Cold cuts can actually carry a bacteria called listeria that pregnant women are recommended to avoid because it can cause complications in pregnancies. It's found in soft cheese, things like hot dogs and your cold cuts," Lachenmayr said.
Listeria's not too good for the rest of us, either. Be choosy about the deli products you eat -- where you buy them and how long you store them.
And the No. 10 dirtiest food: scallions. Remember the deadly hepatitis outbreak traced to a Pennsylvania Chichi's restaurant last fall? Scallions were identified as the problem there and in several smaller outbreaks, too.
"They're harder to clean. They have a higher water content so bacteria is able to thrive in it. Bacteria needs water. It's often put on top so it doesn't cook," Lachenmayr said.
So clean and cook your scallions at home and be wary at restaurants.
Are we suggesting you give up those top ten foods? No. We're just warning you that these are foods to be cautious about. Careful cooking and cleaning can prevent a whole lot of problems.