Which foods are the worst offenders for food poisoning?

Any food can potentially be contaminated and cause food poisoning —even flour. In most cases, food poisoning symptoms are unpleasant but do not require emergency care. If you have severe symptoms or possible dehydration, however, the doctors and nurses at Good Samaritan Hospital urge you to seek medical care promptly. High-risk populations should also exercise caution, including pregnant women, young children and seniors.

Contaminated vegetables and fruits
Fruits and vegetables that are eaten raw pose a risk of food poisoning. Washing these items is strongly recommended, although it’s still possible to fall ill if the item is contaminated.

It’s possible for a vegetable or fruit to become contaminated anywhere along the supply chain—from farm to supermarket to your home. Fresh manure that is used to fertilize the crops can harbor illness-causing microbes. Raw sprouts, including alfalfa sprouts, are at a particularly high risk of contamination in this manner.

At a processing plant, leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale may be washed with contaminated water or placed into unsanitary containers.

Protect yourself by using a commercial produce cleanser product, which is commonly available in supermarkets, and a vegetable scrub brush to clean your produce under running water. Wash all items, even bagged lettuce that has been previously washed by the processor. Additionally, wash foods like cantaloupe before cutting into them—otherwise, the knife can transfer germs from the rind to the interior of the melon.

Contaminated meat and fish
For your protection, you should assume that all raw or undercooked poultry, beef, pork, fish and shellfish are contaminated. It’s essential to cook animal products to the recommended internal temperature (use a meat thermometer).

One of the reasons why meat and fish are at such a high risk of contamination is the sheer vastness and complexity of the nation’s food system. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , just one hamburger can contain fragments of meat from hundreds of cows.

Additionally, purchasing a whole chicken isn’t necessarily any safer than purchasing a pack of chicken tenders. This is because a whole chicken carcass can be exposed to the byproducts of thousands of other birds that were processed in the same facility.

For all of life’s unpredictable medical emergencies, your family can count on the compassionate healthcare providers at Good Samaritan Hospital . Our hospital, located in San Jose, has been privileged to serve families throughout Silicon Valley since 1965. Call a caring member of our nursing staff at (888) 724-2362.

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