People talk about the most common foodborne illnesses: Salmonella and E. coli. But other food that makes people sick will often be in different ways, too.
The following list of eight food that makes people sick will often—commonly consumed in homes and restaurants—have been known to cause foodborne illness outbreaks throughout the US (and even worldwide). So read closely before you eat!
Like most people, you probably haven’t considered the dangers of eating raw oysters. You may have been unaware that they can be contaminated with Vibrio vulnificus, a bacterium that causes vomiting, diarrhea, fever, chills, and nausea. Vibrio vulnificus is usually contracted through eating raw or undercooked seafood.
Fortunately for us Northerners who love our shellfish (and thankfully haven’t been exposed to this particular bacteria), vibriosis isn’t common in the United States—but it’s not unheard of either: Between 1991 and 2006, there were 87 cases reported in Florida alone; however there were only seven total cases reported nationwide between 2006 and 2012 by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
So how do you avoid becoming one of those unlucky seven? Eat your oysters cooked!
Eggs are a typical food that people eat daily, but they can also be contaminated with Salmonella. This can cause serious illness, especially for babies and people with weakened immune systems.
Salmonella is a bacteria found in the intestinal tracts of animals and humans. Some bacteria are harmless, but others can make you sick if you eat them.
People who get sick from Salmonella usually have diarrhea and fever within 12 to 72 hours after eating contaminated food or drinking water that has been contaminated. In some cases, more severe symptoms, such as dehydration from vomiting or bloody stool from an infection in the intestines, may occur.
Almonds can make you sick.
They’re a natural food, so they’re good for you. Not necessarily. Almonds are one of the foods that can cause a foodborne illness called Salmonella poisoning. Chances are high that you’ve eaten an almond contaminated with Salmonella at some point in your life—and even if it didn’t make you sick, it could have been close enough to make you sick that doctors say eating almonds again can cause repeat incidents of the illness.
If this sounds scary and unnecessary to you (and us!), don’t worry: There are ways to safely enjoy almonds without risking your health!
First, when buying almonds from the grocery store or market: check them carefully before purchasing them. Look at the shells—if there’s any discoloration or mold on them (even if it looks small), put those down immediately and find another bag or selection!
You don’t want to get Salmonella from something as small as an almond shell! You should also inspect the nuts inside their shells; if they look discolored or shriveled up in any way (this means they probably already have been infected by Salmonella), then steer clear of those too! And remember: if mold is anywhere on these nuts, throw them out immediately because we do not want anyone getting sick from wasting time eating moldy foods.”
Sprouts are a popular source of food poisoning. Sprouts have been linked to Salmonella, E. coli, and listeria outbreaks. Sprouts are a good source of vitamins and minerals but can also be contaminated with bacteria.
- Fruit salad/melons: If you don’t see the name of the restaurant or grocery store on the bag, avoid buying it.
- Raw fish: Avoid sushi and sashimi unless you are at a high-end restaurant with a dedicated sushi chef who knows how to prepare it safely.
- Animal feces can contaminate fresh vegetables before washing or cutting, so ensure they are thoroughly washed before eating them raw (like carrots).
Peanut butter is a typical food that makes people sick will often. It’s also a significant source of food allergies, so you should be aware of the signs and symptoms if you have an allergy to peanuts or peanut products.
- Raw or roasted peanuts make peanut butter, but it’s important to know what kind you’re buying.
- Salmonella and other bacteria can contaminate raw peanuts. If these bacteria get into your body through eating raw or undercooked ground beef that contains infected meat, they could cause salmonellosis (food poisoning).
- The most common symptom is diarrhea; however, severe cases may cause severe abdominal cramps and vomiting.
Flour/raw dough and cake mix
- Flour is a popular item for making homemade baked goods such as cookies and cakes. But you might be surprised that flour can be contaminated with E. coli and Salmonella, which can cause food poisoning or other illnesses when eaten.
- Flour isn’t cooked when used in baking, so you may risk getting sick if you don’t cook your foods thoroughly enough (or at all).
- Flours are often contaminated at the mill where they’re made since it’s hard to keep dust out of them during production. They can also become contaminated during storage or transportation before they get shipped off to grocery stores around the country. So even if you buy your flour from a reputable store like Whole Foods Market®, there’s no guarantee someone else hasn’t already handled it before reaching its final destination!
If you’re a fan of chicken, it’s essential to know that Salmonella is one of the most common bacteria in poultry. Salmonella can cause gastrointestinal illness, including diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps, within 12 to 72 hours of exposure. While most infected people recover without treatment after four days, others may be especially vulnerable to complications or may require hospitalization.
If you’ve got some leftover cooked chicken in the refrigerator that has been sitting around for a couple of days, throw it out immediately!
Most experts agree that cooked chicken should be stored no longer than two days at room temperature or one day in the refrigerator before being tossed (or, better yet—eaten). If you’re unsure if your leftover meat is safe to eat when stored this long: toss it!
And remember: never allow raw foods like salads or sandwiches made with raw meats (such as deli meats) to come into contact with ready-to-eat food items such as loaves of bread containing spreads like cream cheese because cross-contamination can occur and make everyone sick.
Food that Makes People Sick Will Often
You may have heard the advice to avoid certain foods during pregnancy, but did you know that some foods can also make you sick? It’s true, and here are some tips on how to steer clear of foodborne illnesses.
- If you don’t know how your meat was prepared, don’t eat it. For example, when cooking a steak or hamburger yourself, ensure it’s fully cooked before serving it. The same goes for any other type of meat: chicken and turkey are also susceptible to salmonella bacteria.
Your best bet is always to cook your meats thoroughly until they’re at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit—preferably higher—and then allow them to rest in a safe temperature range (between 140-150 degrees F) before eating them.* Don’t drink unpasteurized milk or juice.* Avoid soft cheeses made from unpasteurized milk like feta cheese (often found in salads), queso fresco (“fresh” Mexican cheese), Brie, and Camembert.
Avoid raw shellfish such as oysters due to their high risk of carrying harmful bacteria such as vibrio vulnificus (which can cause gastroenteritis) or hepatitis A viruses* Be careful about consuming undercooked eggs; these should be cooked until both whites and yolks are completely firm
You know what they say; you are what you eat. And the same goes for full of nutrition food that’s not adequately cooked or stored. If you want to avoid getting sick and stay healthy, we all must know which foods can be dangerous for us.