An expert on food poisoning has shared the 6 foods he will never eat out of fears for their safety.
Bill Marler, an attorney from Washington, has 20 years of experience dealing with E. coli and salmonella cases. He has developed a list of 6 foods to avoid at all costs.
Marler has listed the 6 foods that he says are the main culprits behind the majority of cases that he represents. They are:
- Raw oysters
- Pre-cut fruit and vegetables
- Raw sprouts
- Rare meat
- Uncooked eggs
- Unpasteurised milk and juices
Shellfish are an increasing concern, as he claims to have seen more cases linked to their consumption in the last 5 years than he did in the 20 years prior put together. This is one of the main reasons behind his inclusion of raw oysters, which can be one of the most dangerous seafood dishes out there.
As waters warm, harmful microbes are spreading more readily – so this is in fact an environmental issue.
The more food processing and handling goes on to bring a product to the shelves, he says, the greater the risk of contamination. This is why fruit and vegetables which have been pre-cut or skinned before being put on sale are also to be avoided.
Bean sprouts, meanwhile, have caused more than 30 outbreaks of salmonella and E. coli in the last 20 years, even though they may look innocent enough. This occurs because they are washed in warm water during the germination process, which allows bacteria to breed.
Any meat which is cooked below 160 degrees Celsius should also be avoided as much as possible, as cooler temperatures will not kill off the bacteria in the meat. While it might be the taste preference of the chef to serve something rare, it’s a case of being careful with your health. Avoiding high-risk situations is best if you want to stay clear of food poisoning.
While uncooked eggs have come a long way in terms of safety over the last 20 years, Marler still avoids them. This also means ruling out some products which contain raw eggs, including mayonnaise, mousse, ice cream, and even some cocktails.
'There's no benefit big enough to take away the risk of drinking products that can be made safe by pasteurization,' Marler adds.
Cause for Debate
After releasing his recommendations, it’s clear that not everyone agrees with what Marler has to say. For some, it’s a case of simply not wanting to give up their favourite treats! Most people would agree that avoiding ice cream or mayonnaise simply because of a slim chance of contamination from raw eggs is perhaps a step too far.
However, there does have to be some balance, and perhaps the focus of this food safety concern should be to attempt to tighten regulations. While food processing plants are required to conduct inspections and check for the harmful bacteria, this does not always guarantee that fresh food is safe after leaving the premises.
It is the remit of food safety management officials to propose stricter rules for their company. In fact, cutting down on the risk of harmful bacteria in food could be a money-saving operation. Lawyers like Marler are able to make a living from the lawsuit which are trigged by food poisoning, which clearly indicates that it is big business.
To cut down on the instances of food poisoning from shop-bought food, checks should be made more regularly and warm water should be avoided as much as possible. At-risk foods, such as those listed above, should be checked more strictly.