Anyone who’s ever been struck down by a dodgy kebab knows all too well that food poisoning is literally one of the worst things ever. Spending several days clamped to the toilet, feeling as though your insides could drop out of you at any moment, is no one’s idea of a good time.
Though it’s perfectly possible to stumble across something nasty in any plate of food, some offenders are far worse than others. To help you avoid unfortunate upset tummies, here are the eight ingredients most likely to give you food poisoning.
1. Alfalfa Sprouts
For anyone looking to make a healthy change to their lifestyle, the small cartons of sprouts that line the shelves of certain upmarket food stores can seem like a perfect place to start. Unfortunately, alfalfa sprouts can have disastrous consequences for you and your toilet. Because they are so hard to wash and grow in damp conditions, these packets are a haven for bacteria and pesticides, and are generally best left alone.
Melon might seem like the last thing you’d expect to appear on this list, but don’t let its innocent exterior fool you for a second. This is because most people, quite understandably, fail to wash them before cutting, which means that any bacteria on the rind can make it into the flesh via a knife. Cantaloupes are a particularly common cause.
3. Leafy Greens
Though every diet has to involve salad at some point, it’s a good idea to take extra care when preparing it. The CDC receives almost 1,000 complaints a year relating to food-borne illnesses from greens, thanks to the bacteria and pesticides that can often lurk between the leaves.
As a rule, any food riddled with nooks and crannies is a candidate for concealing something nasty. Though they may be delicious, strawberries, raspberries and the like are considered to be among the most likely fruits to harbour bacteria. Named as the key contributors to a host of food poisoning scares, including a hepatitis A outbreak in 2013, it’s always important to wash berries thoroughly before eating.
Despite trends such as chicken breast sashimi, eating raw poultry is almost always a bad idea. The flesh harbours several different types of harmful bacteria, including salmonella, and can cause serious illness if incorrectly prepared. Always make sure that chicken is cooked through before eating, and try to avoid washing the meat first - it just splashes bateria everywhere.
As awesome as uncooked cake mix is, eating it can have some unhappy side effects. Though the risk of salmonella poisoning from raw egg is far lower than it used to be thanks to modern sanitation and treatment, there are still many thousands of egg related food poisoning cases each year. It’s still far better to cook your egg and be safe than end up regretting an undercooked yolk.
7. Ground Beef
Though raw beef is perfectly safe to eat in many cases, eating any food that’s undercooked unfortunately carries certain risks. Beef can harbour E. coli, along with other potentially harmful pathogens, meaning that an undercooked hamburger could well have you on route to hospital.
As filter feeders, the quality of shellfish is determined by where they’ve come from. If they have been harvested from healthy, clean water, there shouldn’t be any problems. If, however, they’ve been straining through dirty, bacteria filled water, the chances are that they too will be affected. When eating raw shellfish, it’s always best to avoid it if it smells fishy, and to find out, if possible, where it came from.
Of course, even the most cautious eater can have an unfortunate accident. Nevertheless, it pays to be prepared if you want to avoid an uncomfortable 24 hours. You never know when there could be a plate of food with your name on it.