Salad Greens Top List of America’s Riskiest Foods

Leafy greens caused the most outbreaks of food poisoning during a 17-year period from 1990 to 2006. (Free Digital Photos)
Leafy greens caused the most outbreaks of food poisoning during a 17-year period from 1990 to 2006. (Free Digital Photos)

Can eating a salad make you sick? Believe it or not, salad greens are at the top of the list of America’s riskiest foods.

Examine the statistics: Leafy greens cause a full 30 percent of the estimated 76 million food-borne illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths in the U.S. each year.

The Washington-based Centers for Science in the Public Interest tracked data from 1990 and 2006 and revealed which foods caused the most food-poisoning outbreaks during that period:

1. Leafy greens, 363 outbreaks. Greens were found to contain various pathogens, including E. coli, norovirus and salmonella. They often can become contaminated during harvesting or during the pre-washing process for bagged lettuce.

2. Eggs, 325 outbreaks. Most of these outbreaks were from salmonella due to improper handling and cooking. Restaurants were the worst offenders, serving eggs too raw or leaving them too long on buffet tables.

3. Tuna, 268 outbreaks. The primary culprit is something called Scombroid poisoning, a toxin released when fresh fish is stored above 60 degrees F. It can cause headaches, cramps, nausea, diarrhea, palpitations and loss of vision.

4. Oysters, 132 outbreaks. Norovirus is common in tainted oysters and usually comes from the waters in which these delicacies are harvested. A bacterium called Vibrio is also present in oysters, and it can infect the bloodstream and be life-threatening.

5. Potatoes, 108 outbreaks. Outbreaks occur most frequently from contaminated or improperly refrigerated potato salad. The most common causes of potato-linked illnesses are E. coli and salmonella.

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SOURCE: Newsmax Health
Lynn Allison

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