These Foods Are The Most Likely To Give You Food Poisoning

By Carole 10 months ago

1. Hot Dogs

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We eat around 20 billion hot dogs each and every year and they are ballpark staples of most Americans.  They are pre-cooked and could pick up listeria after they have been packaged.  To avoid any illnesses, make sure your hot dogs are just that - hot right through.

2. Chicken

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About a million of us Americans get sick after eating chicken.  Chickens have bacteria in their gut, as do all animals.  Pathogens such as campylobacter and salmonella can get attached to the birds during processing and packaging, going all the way to your cutting board.  Do not wash raw chicken because it can contaminate your kitchen and cook to the proper temperature to kill all bacteria.

3. Eggs

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Every year, salmonella-tainted eggs cause almost 80,000 U.S. cases of food poisoning and shockingly, about 30 deaths.  Chickens can pass salmonella on to eggs before the shell has formed. Bacteria can also infect eggs through poultry poop.  Be sure to refrigerate eggs at 40 F. or below.  If your recipe calls for uncooked eggs, use pasteurized eggs.

4. Raw Milk

Image source: The Chopra Center
Unpasteurized milk is one of the most dangerous sources of foodborne illness and is actually illegal in some States.  Raw milk from animals has not been heated or pasteurized, to kill the bacteria.  It can harbor listeria, E.coli, and salmonella, causing vomiting and diarrhea.  Check your milk container to ensure it’s pasteurized, especially if you are purchasing at a farmers' market.

5. Rice

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Rice, one of the oldest cereal grains and a staple food for over half the world’s population,  is a high risk food, when we are talking about to food poisoning. Uncooked rice can be contaminated with bacteria which produce toxins, causing illness.  They can survive in uncooked rice in the pantry and even after the cooking process.

6. Deli Meats

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Deli meats can become contaminated with harmful bacteria including listeria, at several stages within the processing and manufacturing process.  Contamination can occur through contact with contaminated raw meat or by poor hygiene and cross-contamination from unclean equipment, like slicer blades.

7. Pre-Cut Melon

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Every year, 1.35 million people in the U.S. contract salmonella with around 27,000 being hospitalized.  Infections are more common in the summer, when we enjoy watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew melons.  The vines grow on the ground and the rinds can pick up germs. Their surface can be hard to sanitize and pre-cut melon can pass on norovirus. Washed and whole melons are best for you.  You should refrigerate pre-cut fruits or pack them in ice.

8. Red Meat

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The main risk with raw, red meat is that it is placed next to, or above, cooked meat.  The juices from the raw meat drip on to the cooked meat and this results in cross-contamination and the risk of food poisoning.  Always store raw meat on a plate and on the bottom shelf .

9. Kale And Leafy Greens

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Kale and other leafy greens tend to get contaminated by dirty irrigation water. Cows hold billions of dangerous bacteria in their guts and when they defecate, these are released on to the soil where they may be washed into the groundwater supply. The dirty waters can then get sucked up by machines and used to irrigate crops, spraying the bacteria directly onto greens.

10. Shrimps

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Shellfish poisoning happens as a result of eating shellfish contaminated with bacteria or  viruses. Contaminated shellfish include shrimp, clams, crabs, oysters, dried fish and salted raw fish.  You will probably be able to tell if the fish is contaminated because of a tainted odor or taste.

11. Fruit

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Raw fruits and vegetables can contain harmful germs that make you and your family sick, picking up salmonella, E. coli or listeria.  The safest way to eat produce is cooked, followed by properly washed.  All fruits and vegetables should be cleaned under running water, even if you are not eating the peel.

12. Pork

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Pork is another high risk food and one we tend not to associate with food poisoning but eating undercooked pork can lead to a form of such an illness called "trichinosis’. Parasites within this pork enter the digestive system and will the infect the gastrointestinal tract.

13. Bean Sprouts

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These are seeds that have sprouted. Raw and lightly cooked sprouts, particularly alfalfa, have caused multi State outbreaks of food poisoning every year since 2006.  The warm, humid conditions that nurture sprouts also promote salmonella and listeria.  If you are tempted  to toss these antioxidant-packed seedlings, cook them first.

14. Flour

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It is rare, but raw flour can become contaminated with E. coli during harvesting, grinding and sifting.  Bleaching flour will not kill E.coli and can cause vomiting and even kidney failure, in a few cases. Boxed cake mixes and prepared cookie dough can also harbor germs.

15. Bagged Lettuce

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Fresh salads are a top source of food poisoning but pin-pointing the cause can be difficult.  Some outbreaks are tied to a specific type of greens, often romaine lettuce and spinach.  Salmonella and other bacteria can be traced back to dirty irrigation water, soil or human handling.  Germs multiply in the juice from cut leaves and can get trapped in the bags. They can then cling to the leaves, even after washing.

16. Ground Beef

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E.coli became known in the early '90s, when more than 700 adults and children fell ill from undercooked hamburger patties sold by a certain fast food chain.  Four people died from it and E.coli still remains the main culprit behind food poisoning. Cook your steaks and roasts to 145 F on the inside and ground beef and pork need to reach 160 F to be safe.

17. Pre-Packed Sandwiches

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Salmonella can be a severe illness and is a common food poisoning microorganism. Sandwiches are considered to be a high risk  as sandwich preparation almost always involves manual handling. Contamination by food handlers or other undercooked ingredients, together with improper storage, may increase the risk of getting food poisoning.

18. Pasta

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It is common knowledge that allowing some foods sit out can be dangerous.  This applies to starchy foods such as pasta.  If it is left uncovered in a warm room, it will attract bacteria and give the person eating it a very poorly stomach and possible vomiting.

19. Chicken Liver

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Some people prefer chicken liver on the underdone side but this could be a very risky choice as it is still chicken and the livers could be loaded with the bacteria campylobacter. she warns. Be wary of recipes that recommend preparing the delicacy “lightly sautéed.” The temperature of the cooked livers should be 165 Fahrenheit and have a crumbly texture.

20. Oysters

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Slurping fresh oysters out of the shell is a briny treat - or  not!  These molluscs draw food from coastal waters through their gills, trapping viruses and bacteria the same way. Eating tainted raw oysters can give you vibriosis, resulting in diarrhea, vomiting, fever and chills.  More than 80,000 Americans every year will suffer.  You can also catch norovirus, known as “stomach flu.”  The safest way to enjoy oysters is to cook them.

21. Raw Milk Cheeses

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Eating soft cheeses made with raw milk is very risky.  You are 160 times more likely to pick up listeria with queso fresco, feta, brie and blue-veined varieties like Roquefort. Listeria can spread beyond your gut and give you really bad headaches, loss of balance and convulsions. It could also lead to miscarriage, stillbirth or premature delivery.

22. Fermented And Canned Foods

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Fermented and canned foods use healthy bacteria to give the foods their distinctive flavor.  These foods are safe except when something goes wrong in the fermenting process and  dangerous bacteria can get into the food.  One of the biggest risks is a botulism infection which could prove fatal if not treated promptly.

23. Tuna

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All fish has to be kept very cold but tuna in particular is susceptible to scombrotoxin. Warmer temperatures allow bacteria to multiply, producing the chemical histamine. This can cause serious headaches and cramps, low blood pressure, vomiting and diarrhoea, so it's essential to keep the fish cold.

24. Potato salad

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A whole host of microscopic critters can rear their ugly heads in potato salad that has been improperly handled.  This might be the case if you purchase it at a deli, where cross-contamination with deli meat and cheese could occur.  The problem is not the mayonnaise but the potatoes.  If the starchy vegetable is a bit hard, it's more accessible to bacteria.

25. Berries

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Many berries are classed as ‘superfoods’, especially blueberries, blackberries and blackcurrants. It's imperative that they are all washed thoroughly in clean, cold running water.  Frozen berries were linked to cases of Hepatitis A earlier this year so be careful!

26. Coleslaw

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One food that is often a source of food poisoning is coleslaw. Coleslaw is traditionally made from cabbage, carrots and other vegetables, all of which can easily become contaminated if they are not handled and stored correctly.  Always store in the fridge before and after use.

27. Papaya

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These fruits can become contaminated with salmonella because the irrigation systems are used by waterfowl. Previous investigations did show that the papayas could also be contaminated in factories.  They might be washed in water containing too little chlorine, providing an opportunity for the bacteria to spread.

28. Apple Cider

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It may be so tempting to stop by the roadside at a stand where you can try and buy fresh cider, especially if you are gasping for a drink on a warm, sunny day.  Proceed with caution as, when apples are pressed, any bacteria on the outer surface can get inside, into the juice.

29. Cucumber

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Contaminated cucumbers were found to be the source of multiple salmonella outbreaks in recent years.  As they are rarely cooked, you can be prone to any pathogens that might be on the peel. This is true even if you don’t end up eating the peel itself. Your knife blade picks up germs from the surface as you begin to slice it.

30. Invisible Threat

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You can come down with food poisoning from literally 20 minutes up to 6 days after your meal. The last thing you ate isn’t always what made you sick To avoid foodborne illness,  separate foods to avoid cross-contamination.  Keep hot food hot and cold food cold. You can’t see or smell germs!

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