We are all familiar with the unpleasant effects of food poisoning, which has the potential to cause a life-threatening experience. For this reason, many of the most common foods that you eat could be posing a regular risk to your health, according to a recent list released by the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
This list includes the top FDA regulated foods that have been linked to food poisoning outbreaks since 1990. Having a greater understanding of this risk will help you to protect yourself based on the food choices that you make, yet it doesn't mean that you have to avoid these foods altogether. These high risk foods are part of a healthy diet, and some of them may be favorite foods that you enjoy daily! Being aware of these potentially hazardous foods will help you to reduce your risk for contamination by cleaning your food well, making sure that it is stored properly, and adjusting your diet accordingly.
- Eggs: Eggs are most frequently linked to salmonella, and they have caused 352 recorded outbreaks since 1990. The FDA insists that it is important to avoid any products that contain raw eggs, and that eggs must be cooked well before consuming to kill all germs and bacteria. Before you give up eggs altogether, keep in mind that there is only one illness recorded for every 3000 to 4000 meals that are served, and you can successfully eat eggs by handling them properly to minimize the risk of contamination.
Before you avoid those scary, dangerous eggs, here’s an important question: Where did these contaminated eggs come from? Mass scale, factory-farming practices create sick chicken that lay sick eggs. You don’t ever want to eat these poor quality eggs anyway. They may not be contaminated with salmonella, but the eggs aren’t fit to eat.
In August of this year, more than a HALF BILLION eggs were recalled because they were tainted with salmonella, and 98% of all eggs sold in the United States are from battery cage hens, even though they have such misleading labels as "All Natural" and "Farm Fresh". However, these labels do not indicate how the animals are treated or fed, or even how potentially dangerous the eggs could be.
As the FDA further investigated this salmonella recall from an Iowa egg factory, it found rodent infestations, flies, and hens nesting in feces, leading to serious cross-contamination on the premises. The FDA also reported that none of the employees changed their protective clothing when moving to different areas of the farm, causing a massive breach of sanitation protocol.
While the FDA is correct in reinforcing that all eggs must be processed safely, please don’t pay attention to the FDA’s advice that eggs must be cooked well to kill bacteria and germs.Overcooked eggs are simply too hard to digest. It’s better to cook your eggs over a low flame and remove them from the heat when they are about two thirds done. The pan will be so hot at this point that stirring them a few more times continues to cook them further. Pour them out of the sauté pan, and put them into your serving dish. They contain so much heat that they continue to cook about ten more degrees right on your plate. Please see our delicious Body Ecology recipe for scrambled eggs. Contrary to popular belief, the yolks of the eggs have the most nutrition. Please don’t make “egg white omelets” thinking they are good for you, while throwing away the yolks. Additionally, raw eggs are safe if they from healthy poultry, and if they are stored properly after gathering.
- Potatoes: A scrubbed and well-cooked potato is not likely to cause illness, but potato salad may be a source of risk due to cross-contamination. The FDA warns that most potato-related food poisoning outbreaks have been traced back to Listeria germs, often found in deli counters because of cross-contamination from meat.
Potato salad made with commercial mayonnaise isn’t something you want to eat anyway. Commercial mayonnaise is made with refined oils. A healthier salad dressing for your potato salad would be a classic “vinaigrette” made from delicious, extra-virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and some fresh herbs, like dill.
- Tomatoes: The FDA’s list of potentially poisonous food also includes tomatoes. They recommend that once you purchase fresh tomatoes, you can minimize the risk for bacteria growth by washing your hands well with soap before and after handling this produce. It is also important to wash tomatoes under running water before cutting, cooking, or eating, even if you plan to peel the tomatoes before you eat them. Furthermore, make sure to keep fresh tomatoes separate from other foods to prevent contamination.
BUT you don’t have to worry about tomatoes if you’re on The Body Ecology diet! We don’t recommend tomatoes. They are a fruit, not a vegetable as most people think, and when cooked into a sauce, they are acid forming. Blood types A and B do poorly eating tomatoes according to the Blood type diets. Also, tomatoes are a member of the nightshade family, and many people do not do well on them because they can be irritating to the nervous system.
Yum! Grapefruit makes for a delicious meal, but make sure that it is washed well and paired with a tasty probiotic.
- Berries: Unfortunately, berries are a common source of food poisoning, namely raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries. An outbreak in 1997 caused thousands of schoolchildren to become sick through hepatitis A contamination in frozen strawberries, possibly linked to a farm worker in Mexico. Again, take the time to thoroughly wash any berries before eating them fresh or frozen, and keep them separate from other raw foods.
On the Body Ecology diet, we do eat certain fruits, including berries. In fact, we recommend you eat only the very sourfruits, like berries, lemons, limes, kiwi, and grapefruit. We also recommend juices, like pomegranate, cranberry, and black current juice. (Genesis Today has a Mangosteen juice and Acai juice that are unsweetened.)
- Salad Greens: Leafy greens should be a part of any healthy diet, although many people tend to shy away from these salad greens since they have caused thousands of cases of reported illness since 1990, including the bagged spinach outbreak in 2006. Greens are easily contaminated through dirty water, unwashed hands, or even manure, so make sure to wash all produce thoroughly and minimize any risk of cross-contamination by keeping raw foods separate when using cutting boards.
Unfortunately, most “pre-washed” salads are washed with chlorine, which still leaves quite a bit of bacteria on the leaves. Even more recently, bacteria outbreaks have been rampant in the bagged salad industry. The latest was a bagged spinach E. coli outbreak that sickened more than 200 people nationwide. This month, Chiquita introduced their new FreshRinse method for salad preparation as a response to the outbreak recall, which does not contain chlorine yet is still made with organic peroxide and lactic acid.
The Powerful Protection of Probiotic Foods
While we totally agree with the FDA that re-washing your greens at home is wise, even if you do this, you cannot always be sure that they are free of pathogens. You will be pleased to know that there is something more that you can do to protect you and your loved ones against bad bacteria!
Nature has provided us with a way to live safely in the world if we have a hardy inner ecosystem of beneficial microflora and yeast there to protect us.
When we were born, this inner ecosystem should have been established inside our digestive tracts to ensure that we could live in a world totally covered with both good and bad microbes. Bacteria and yeast also cover the outside of our body. In fact, if you do the math, we humans are 90% microbes and only 10% human beings.
Since ancient times, fermented foods and beverages have provided healing benefits in almost every culture. You may be familiar with sauerkraut from Russia or even vegetables buried in earthen pots by Native Americans that have offered healing benefits to their cultures for centuries.
In modern days, with our use of refrigeration, the concept of leaving something out seems dangerous and totally foreign. If you do leave food out, doesn’t it always spoil? No, not always.
Because we have never been taught about fermentation, there is some major confusion about fermented foods and drinks, meaning that the majority of Americans are missing out on their amazing healing benefits! At Body Ecology, we feel it is our mission to change the way that the world eats and bring back these important ancient foods so they can help us heal and live longer, happier lives.
These fermented foods and beverages are full of beneficial microflora that our intestines require to build a strong and robust inner ecosystem. Since many cultures have turned away from the ancient processes of fermentation, our modern habits have caused destruction to our inner ecosystems.
So how can you get back into balance? Fermented foods and drinks will bring back the good bacteria in your gut to promote healthy digestion, supply your body with vital nutrients, boost energy, increase your immunity, and help you to look your best both inside and out.
- We recommend you try fermenting your vegetables with Body Ecology’s Cultured Vegetable Starter to support your inner ecosystem and help build a resistance to many of the possible food contaminants we outlined above!
- A delicious fermented beverage to add to your diet is Innergy Biotic, which is a low calorie and healthy probiotic drink that will give you a serious boost of energy and provide superior healing to your intestinal tract.
WHAT TO REMEMBER MOST FROM THIS ARTICLE:
Yes, it’s possible to have food-related illnesses if common foods are not handled properly. Nonetheless, when you take the time to wash and prepare your food yourself, you can regain control over the safe handling and preparation of all foods that you eat. These potential risks do not mean that you have to be afraid of your favorite foods, but it is vital to be mindful of clean preparation and handling with any type of fresh food in your diet. This will bring you one step closer to safe and happy eating with every meal! And please, don’t forget your probiotics!
Farm to Table Syndication. "Good Egg, Bad Egg | Farm to Table." Farm To Table: The Emerging American Meal. 1 Oct. 2010. Web. 19 Oct. 2010.
Fredrix, Emily. "Chiquita Uses New Salad Wash to Ward off Bacteria - The Denver Post." Home - The Denver Post. 18 Oct. 2010. Web. 19 Oct. 2010.
Philpott, Tom. "After a Half Billion Bad Eggs Get Released, the FDA Reveals Filthy Conditions of Wright County Egg | Grist." Grist | Environmental News, Commentary, Advice. 31 Aug. 2010. Web. 19 Oct. 2010.
The 10 Riskiest Foods in America: MSNBC.com
The Ten Riskiest Foods Regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration: cspinet.org
THE TEN RISKIEST FOODS
"10 Types of Food That Can Make You Sick - Health.com." Health.com: Health News, Wellness, and Medical Information. Web. 19 Oct. 2010.
REGULATED BY THE
U.S. FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION
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