Site Search

Top 10 Foods That Carry a High Risk of Contamination

Watch before you eat: They maybe healthy or delicious, but these top 10 foods carry a high risk of contamination


One of the healthiest foods is also among the most unsafe. The salmonella bacteria, nurtured in the intestinal tracts of animals and birds, contaminates the eggs. The best way to ensure you don’t ingest that bacteria is to buy fresh eggs from a daily vendor. Do not buy ones that have been sitting in the heat for a while. Store eggs in the fridge, but no more than a week. If in doubt, test freshness by placing an egg in a bowl filled with water. If it sinks, it is fresh. Always cook the eggs and avoid using them raw in a recipe.


Though they boast of immeasurable benefits, leafy veggies such as spinach, coriander, cabbage, chauli leaves and cauliflower can pose health risks. They may have been grown near rail tracks with dubious irrigation, and can be contaminated by E. coli, norovirus and salmonella. Sprayed by pesticides, the best way to eat such vegetables is by soaking them in a large bowl of water, and drying them before eating.


Fish has to be eaten fresh; store it in the fridge for no more than two to three days, as it starts releasing natural toxins such as scombrotoxin or start bacterial growth. Consumption can cause illnesses related to norovirus and salmonella. Before cooking, wash the fish, especially the cavities, in running water and rub with salt and turmeric before cooking.


Unless well cooked, oysters can cause norovirus infection which can lead to gastro-enteritis or stomach and intestine inflammation. Vibrio, a bacterium found in the same family as cholera and present in oysters, is more lethal and can lead to severe diseases. Thorough cooking the oysters destroys these bacteria as does storing them in cold temperatures.


This will probably break the hearts of couch potatoes — salmonella, E. coli, shigella and listeria are on the list of potato contaminants. However, don’t pass the fries yet. All you need to do is brush the skin with a toothbrush to dislodge mud and debris and peel it before eating or cooking.


Cheeses produced by unlicensed manufacturers and soft cheeses such as feta and brie, may contain dangerous pathogens that cause listeriosis, a sly, symptom free infection that can result in miscarriage. The only thing you can do to guard yourself is avoid non-pasteurised cheese products.


Home-made ice-cream,or those made in unhygienic conditions or served in unsanitary outlets can carry salmonella and staphylococcus. Most of the time, uncooked eggs and unpasturerised milk used in the ingredients is the culprit. Dirty scoops, storage containers and freezers breed bacteria and increase the threat of listeriosis. Commercial or store-bought brands are your safest bet.


Even tomatoes are considered a risky food due to the presence of salmonella. The bacteria makes its way to the flesh through the cracked skin, dents and scars. Washing the fruit thoroughly and cooking it well is the only way to eradicate it.


Since bacteria need a warm, humid climate to grow, they are persistently found in sprouts. Harmful pathogens such as salmonella and E. coli cling to pulses, which are essentially seeds, in the field or in storage. If you have a weak immune system, you are most susceptible to illnesses after consuming raw or undercooked sprouts. So if you are recovering from a bout of illness, or breast-feeding, avoid sprouts for a few days. Also, children and elderly individuals should avoid eating them raw.


Before running out to consume boxes of strawberries, know that they have been linked to thousands of illnesses. The most common being cyclospora that affects the intestines. Symptoms include diarrhoea, dehydration and stomach cramps. Only a antibiotics will set you back on course. To get rid of pesticides that penetrate the thin skin of berries, wash them thoroughly.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Recent Updates