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Top 10 'Dirtiest Foods'

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Top 10 'Dirtiest Foods'
Unexpected Items Make List

Food borne illnesses kill 5,000 people every year and make 200,000 more sick, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but 10 items in particular are reportedly most likely to cause illness.

Men's Health magazine recently published a list of what it refers to as the "10 Dirtiest Foods." While some are no surprise, others are not the usual suspects.

Aside from chicken, ground beef and ground turkey, which top the list, other items include pre-packaged lettuce and fruits with inedible skins.

Here's the full list:

Chicken
Ground beef
Ground turkey
Raw Oysters
Eggs
Cantaloupe
Peaches
Pre-packaged lettuce
Cold Cuts
Scallions

Topping the list, chicken, ground beef and ground turkey can all pick up germs when they're processed. They should be safe if you cook them thoroughly, according to experts.

Unless cooked, raw oysters could contain salmonella and e-coli. The same goes for eggs.

You might expect the above foods to be potentially dangerous, but what about cantaloupe, which is at No. 6 on the list?

According to Megan Hunter, a registered dietician at Baylor University Medical Center, the fruit could still make you sick, even though you don't eat the outside skin.

"We wouldn't think about washing them because we're not eating them, but [bacteria] can contaminate the actual fruit," Hunter said. "It's on your knife. It's on the inside when you cut it. It's disgusting."

To prevent that from happening, wash every kind of melon with soapy water before you slice it. The same goes for bananas.

At No. 7 on the list, peaches can also be dangerous. Growers use a lot of pesticides to get them perfect, so wash them thoroughly before eating.

A popular time-saver ranks No. 8 on the list -- pre-packaged lettuce. While it is advertised as pre-washed, E.coli on pre-packaged lettuce made dozens of people sick on the West Coast last year. Wash it yourself to be sure it's clean.

The next item on the list is located at the deli counter. At No. 9, cold cuts can be teaming with bacteria.

Hunter said that cold cuts can actually carry a bacteria called listeria. Be choosy about deli products -- where you buy them and how long you store them.

Rounding out the top 10 is scallions. The tasty green garnish caused a deadly hepatitis outbreak in Pennsylvania last fall.

"Those are really hard to clean," Hunter said. "The insides are very difficult to clean."

However, despite the potential dangers, experts are not urging you to give up the 10 foods on the list. In fact, if you clean and cook them properly, you can enjoy the items with a very low risk of getting sick.

"You really do need to pay attention because a lot of times, we don't even know we have a food borne illness. We think we just have the flu," Hunter said.

Entry #582

Comments

1.
Comment by Gentlespirit - April 29, 2008, 8:20 pm
Very interesting! Especially since food poisoning is no fun at all. I've been there done that! You really must be very careful of what you're eating! Thanks for posting this Angel.
2.
Comment by pacattack05 - April 29, 2008, 9:23 pm
I recommend good hygiene at all times. Systematic modification
3.
angelmComment by angelm - April 30, 2008, 8:04 am
You are welcome Gentlespirit

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