Healthy Foods That Can Make You Sick

Posted by Robin Westen on April 20, 2011 11:13 AM

 You’re opting for a low-calorie healthy lunch so you mix hearty greens, toss in a sliced hardboiled egg, tomatoes, sprouts, a can of tuna in water and sprinkle cheese on top. You know your meal is low-fat and packed with plenty of protein.

But did you also know it might be packed with something else? Food-borne illnesses. And if you do get food poisoning, you’ll have plenty of company. Each year seventy-six million Americans get sick from food-borne illnesses. According to a recent report by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), foods like leafy greens, sprouts, and a list of other so-called super healthy foods like berries are the most likely to be carriers of infections or toxins.

The group came to that conclusion by analyzing the Center for Disease Controls (CDCs) data on food illness outbreaks dating back to 1990. About half of the fruit-and-vegetable outbreaks were caused by salads, berries, raw sprouts, and lettuce. Four out of every ten produce outbreaks were the result of bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens that are commonly found in meat and poultry. That means that the fruits and vegetables were probably contaminated in the fields with tainted water or manure.

Although the CSPI wants to make consumers aware of the potential dangers of these foods, they don’t want people changing their eating habits. Instead, the group is trying to point out vulnerabilities in our food supply and offer ways to make food safer.

1 The top five danger foods include:eggs, cheese, tomatoes, sprouts, and leafy greens. Other foods that pose frequent problems are berries, potatoes, peanut butter and oysters. The best way to avoid getting sick to your stomach is to keep food cold and cook it thoroughly; avoid raw eggs and wash your greens thoroughly even if they come packaged.

Robin Westen is ThirdAges medical reporter.

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