The Dirtiest Foods We Eat

Pre-packaged lettuce. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, lettuce accounts for 11% of reported food-poisoning outbreaks linked to produce and “salad” accounted for 28%. Why would this happen? Well, pre-packaged salad mix isn’t naturally more hazardous than loose greens or a head of lettuce, but it’s the claims of being “triple washed” that lull consumers into complacency. So rinse your salad greens one leaf at a time under running water before eating. However, if E. coli bacteria are present, there’s still no guarantee that rinsing the leaves will remove it entirely.

Chicken. Consumer Reports tested over 500 chickens, and found that more than 80% of them were contaminated with bacteria. So what’ll help you avoid a tainted bird? First, test the chicken’s temperature. If the package isn’t cold to the touch when you pick it up at the market, find one that is. Check the bird’s color. If it’s more brown than pink, it can be a sign of poor refrigeration. Also, make sure you cook it thoroughly – that means no pink left when you slice it.

Eggs. Food poisoning linked to eggs sickens an estimated 660,000 people annually and KILLS 300. So what can you do? Check the egg cartons. You’re looking for the word “pasteurized” – the high heat used during the pasteurizing process destroys salmonella. Also, check the expiration date and remove each egg and look for cracks – because germs can enter after pasteurization. Keep the eggs in their carton and store it in the coldest part of your fridge – which is usually the back of the lowest shelf.

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