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Published on Oct 07, 2009 by Edgar Snyder

Food Poisoning Culprits: Riskiest Foods Identified

Food poisoning outbreaks

The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nutrition advocacy group, has compiled a list of the foods that pose the greatest risk of food poisoning. At the top of that list are foods that are highly touted for their health benefits – leafy greens like lettuce and spinach.

Following leafy greens are eggs, tuna, oysters, potatoes, cheese, ice cream, tomatoes, sprouts, and berries. The following are the pathogens most commonly linked to some of the foods as well as the most likely causes of contamination:

  • Leafy greens – E. coli, Norovirus, and Salmonella; improper washing
  • Eggs – Salmonella; undercooking
  • Cheese – Salmonella; improper processing
  • Tomatoes – Salmonella; eating them raw
  • Potatoes – Salmonella and E. coli; mixing cold-prepared potato foods, like potato salad, with contaminated ingredients
  • Tuna – Toxins that emit from deteriorating, unrefrigerated fresh tuna
  • Oysters – Norovirus; improper washing
  • Ice cream – Salmonella from undercooked eggs

Scientists rated the foods according to the number of outbreaks linked to them since 1990. Over the past 20 years, leafy greens have caused 363 outbreaks, leading to 13,568 illnesses. Berries, number 10 on the list, were linked to 25 outbreaks and 3,397 illnesses.

Source: "Lettuce and eggs top risky food list." CNN.com. October 6, 2009.
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