The other day I had just sliced up some cantaloupe for my 2-year-old to devour (which is the only verb she’ll use to eat it) as I stumbled across an article on the dirtiest foods out there.
I’m not talking about unwashed potatoes or the Twinkies package coated in dust because it’s been sitting on the gas station shelf since Brenda Walsh and Dylan McKay were an item.
Nope, the article detailed everyday, normal foods, most of which are probably in your kitchen right now, just waiting to make you among the more than 200,000 Americans who get food poisoning every year.
Here’s the dirt on some of the yuckiest of the icky:
Cantaloupe 1 of 6According to the FDA, 3.5 percent of domestically grown cantaloupe carries Salmonella and Shigella, and same for 7 percent of the imported variety. When you bring home a cantaloupe, scrub the exterior with a mild dishwashing liquid for 15 to 30 seconds under running water and use a scrub brush dedicated solely to cleaning produce (to avoid cross-contamination). The slice and enjoy. Or devour, as the case may be.
Peaches 2 of 6The typical peach is coated with up to nine different pesticides by the time it makes to the grocery store, according to USDA sampling of the non-organic varieties. Only apples boast more pesticides, and even then, peaches are more toxic. As with cantaloupes, wash with a sponge or soft scrub brush and a dab of mild dishwashing detergent before eating. That'll help eliminate half of the residues, although not necessarily your nightmares of what's actually left in the fuzz.
Scallions 3 of 6Dirty scallions have been known to trigger hepatitis A outbreaks. They can also carry parasites like Cryptosporidium and carry Shigella and Salmonella. Yum, right? Buy only the refrigerated variety and when you get them home, wash away visible dirt under a steady faucet stream. Remove the outer sheath to get rid of lingering microorganisms, and keep in mind that only cooking them through is a real solution, and even then it's only partial. Bon appetit!
Eggs 4 of 6If you're family is like mine, we keep eggs in the refrigerator forever. That's bad, apparently. Don't eat eggs past their due date. Make sure you buy them pasteurized. And don't store them in your refrigerator door because the coldest part of the fridge is usually the back lowest shelf. Always wash your hands after handling them, too, and be sure to remember that the more undercooked they are, the better your chances of getting sick from them. Egg-related food poisoning sickens an estimated 660,000 people each year, killing 300. Egg beaters, anyone?
Ground Turkey 5 of 6The USDA says the odds are better than 1 in 4 that ground turkey contains Listeria, Campylobacter, Clostridium or a combination of the three. I have no idea what any of them are, but I know I don't want them. Organic turkey is the best thing to buy since it won't have been filled with antibiotics, which encourages the rise of resistant bacteria. Be sure when you check out at the store that the ground turkey gets it's very own plastic bag (same thing with beef and chicken). And anything that the turkey package and its contents touch — including your hands — need to be washed thoroughly.
Reusable Grocery Bags 6 of 6Reusable grocery bags weren't included on the ick list I read, but everything on the ick list will go in one of them if you use them, so just remember that everything that the cantaloupe touches will also touch something you will eventually eat. Which is why it's a great idea to wash your reusable bags every few weeks in hot soapy water. Or just replace them every few month if necessary — changing them out a few times a year has still got to be more environmentally friendly than wasting those plastic bags.
Source: Men’s Health
Image: Creative Commons
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