Foods That Make You Sick?

June 17, 2010

Should consumers stay away from these foods entirely? Of course not

Almost half of all cases food-borne illnesses were traced to just 10 foods, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, including cheese, ice cream, tomatoes, potatoes, sprouts and berries, along with the more predictable culprits: eggs, tuna and oysters. Cameron Scott, San Francisco Gate ‘The Thin Green Line’  recently noted the report states that the food most likely to make you sick is leafy greens. 

Should consumers stay away from these foods entirely? Of course not. 

What you really need to know is that proper food handling processes at home can help reduce foodborne illnesses. Frequent hand washing with soap and water, and careful handling of raw meat, poultry, eggs, etc. should always be top of mind. There are a variety of washes available for vegetables, but leafy greens can be cleaned with a simple vinegar and water bath, followed by a quick spin in a salad spinner.

The CSPI report was originally released in October 2009 and is making new headlines this month due to an effort to overhaul the food safety system. A government panel of experts reported June 8, that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) isn't equipped to handle problems with the food supply and is in need of a major revamping. This conclusion led the media to refocus its attention on the CSPI report.

Supermarket Guru commented on this report in the past and we want to reiterate that although not contained in most of the headlines or television reports, the foods reviewed were only those under the FDA’s jurisdiction; foods like meat and poultry (which have had huge food safety product recalls due to E.coli and Salmonella) were not considered. The reason? The United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is responsible for records associated with these products. 

The CSPI report reviewed data dating back to 1990; over the past 20 years there has been much improvement in food safety science and manufacturing and clearly those improvements must be considered and applauded. Another problem: some data used focused on single outbreaks not primarily linked to the food in question – for example, most of the ice cream illnesses were due to homemade ice cream made with raw eggs; rather than ice cream sold in a supermarket.