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tainted food

Avoid Getting Sick from the Top 10 'Riskiest Foods'

A new report lists the tainted food culprits most likely to leave you sick, but there are ways to find safer food.

By Leah Zerbe

tags: FOOD SAFETY, ORGANIC FOOD



RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—Lettuce, eggs, tomatoes, sprouts. These health foods shouldn't make your stomach turn, but according to a new report, they are among the 10 riskiest foods regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. That's because they're associated with a high percentage of the tainted-food scandals that have sickened people in this country over the past two decades. The 10 foods in the Center for Science in the Public Interest report accounted for 40 percent of foodborne outbreaks since 1990.

One solution? Go organic. While no farmer is completely immune to tainted food outbreaks, organic food production and distribution is more tightly tracked and regulated than other system,s giving organic consumers more peace of mind. Buying whole foods locally also cuts down on the number of opportunities for contamination to occur, such as in processing and packaging plants. "The biggest problems in agriculture are industrial production practices that have turned food into a commodity, and divorced a food product from human care and management," says Greg Bowman, editor of the Rodale Institute's New Farm publication, which promotes organic, sustainable agriculture.

Read on for the top 10 "riskiest foods," but don't be intimidated into not eating them. Heed our advice for lowering your risk, and try the recipes we suggest from the Rodale Recipe Finder.

10. Berries—According to the report, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and other berry products are to blame for 25 tainted-food outbreaks and 3,300-plus illnesses since 1990. Most of the cases involved imported fruit from Latin America that was contaminated with hepatitis A from an infected worker, or cyclospora, a parasitic illness that won't go away without antibiotics.

"Buy any risky produce crop from organic producers directly from the farm, when possible, or through regional or local retailers, where there is less or no comingling from many sources; sources can be identified quickly if something should go wrong, sources are more directly accountable because they are known to local buyers, distributors, and retailers," suggests Bowman. "The produce is also fresher, with fewer days in transit."

Healthy Recipe: Strawberry Jam

Published on: October 7, 2009
Updated on: March 11, 2010



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When you think about risky

When you think about risky foods and foodborne illnesses, you more than likely think of ground beef or poultry. Think again. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI)reported that it found a number of food poisoning cases are caused by some unexpected foods, including leafy greens, tuna and eggs. In fact, all of the top ten foods are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

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Sorry Charlie...

If the seeds you buy are contaminated (and only a lab test can tell) the sprouts you grow will also be, regardless of the conditions you grow them in. Luckily most seeds aren't.

Make sure you clean your sprouting equipment well between batches so you don't add any contamination.

Commercial producers use chlorine bleach soaks (yuck) or hot water dips to try and kill contaminating bacteria without killing the seeds.

According to the Sprout People http://www.sproutpeople.com/safe.html no documented case of contaminated sprouts has ever been connected with certified organic seeds, so choose organic!

sprouts

So if I grow my own sprouts, are they ok?
This article said the seeds are contaminated.
The conditions on my windowsill are also hot and humid, although not as much as greenhouse conditions...

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