Dirty Foods

"The 10 Dirtiest Foods You're Eating" Review

After reading this list, I realized how unsafe my kitchen really is. Without a doubt, Sammy and I have to change our approach starting TODAY! Take a look and see what you need to change too (from the article The 10 Dirtiest Foods You're Eating).


The dirt: Potentially one of the foulest of the fowl. A USDA survey showed that the odds are better than one in four that your ground gobbler contains Listeria, Campylobacter, clostridium, or some combination of the three. In 2011, an antibiotic-resistant, virulent strain of salmonella prompted a recall of 36 million tons of fresh and ground turkey.

At the supermarket: Hunt for organic turkey... it's grown without using antibiotics. Most commercial turkey processors pump up their birds the drugs, a practice that may have encouraged the rise of resistant bacteria. In fact, a study from the University of Maryland found that organic turkey operations not only had lower levels of Salmonella, but the strains they did find were less resistant to antibiotics than strains found on factory turkey farms.

At home: "Change your mind-set about poultry. Start by thinking of it as being contaminated," says Donald W. Schaffner, PhD, an extension specialist in food science at Rutgers University. Immediately after preparing turkey, wash any platter that has come in contact with raw ground turkey. Serve cooked turkey burgers (180°F) on a clean plate. And wipe up any spillage with a paper towel instead of a sponge—the most dangerous item in the house because of bacteria, says Philip Tierno, PhD, a microbiologist at New York University medical center and author of The Secret Life of Germs.


The dirt: These filters for ocean waste can contain the norovirus, campylobacter, and vibrio vulnificus. Researchers who studied oysters from so-called certified-safe beds discovered that 9 percent were in fact contaminated with salmonella bacteria.

At the supermarket: Buy from the same beds that a chef stakes his reputation on: Sandy Ingber, executive chef and seafood buyer for Grand Central Oyster Bar in New York City, buys Blue Point, Chincoteague, Glidden Point, Narragansett Bay, Pemaquid, and Wellfleet oysters in the winter months. During summer, he buys Coromandel oysters from New Zealand. The reason for the seasonal shift: More than three-quarters of outbreaks involving raw oysters occur during the Northern Hemisphere's warm-water months.

At home: Very simple: Eat only thoroughly cooked oysters. If you must slurp, do so only after following the buying advice above. But don't avoid oysters all together—after all, they're one of the best libido-boosting foods, one of the more sustainable fish you can eat, and they provide lots of health benefits as well—provided you cook them first.


The dirt: Which is dirtier, the chicken or the egg? Definitely eggs. Food poisoning linked to eggs sickens an estimated 660,000 people annually and kills 300.

At the supermarket: Check egg cartons for one word: "pastured," and be aware of the nine most common egg carton labels and what they mean. Research has shown that the rate of salmonella contamination in eggs is directly related to flock size. Therefore, factory-farmed eggs from henhouses containing 80,000 hens are more likely to pass the bacteria along to you than those from a local farmer with a flock of 100 or so hens that he raises on pasture. In fact, bypass the supermarket altogether. Get your eggs at the farmer's market, from a backyard chicken owner, or start your own backyard flock.

At home: Keep eggs in their carton and stow that in the coldest part of your fridge (usually the back of the lowest shelf). After you crack one open, wash your hands. Finally, cook your eggs—thoroughly (or, if they're an ingredient in a dish, to 160°F).


The dirt: When the FDA sampled domestically grown cantaloupe, it found that 3.5 percent of the melons carried Salmonella and Shigella, the latter a type of bacteria normally passed person-to-person. In 2011, a cantaloupe recall involving fruit from Colorado was infected with Listeria, a bacterium more commonly associated with meat and dairy products.

At the supermarket: Dents or bruising on the fruit can provide a pathway in for pathogens; cut up slices may not be any safer if employees don't properly wash their hands.

At home: Because cantaloupe grow on the ground and have a netted exterior, it's easy for salmonella to sneak on. Scrub the fruit with a dab of mild dishwashing liquid for 15 to 30 seconds under running water.


The dirt: Being pretty as a peach comes at a price. The fruit is doused with pesticides in the weeks prior to harvest to ensure blemish-free skin. By the time it arrives in your produce department, the typical peach can be coated with up to nine different pesticides, according to USDA sampling, making it one of the dirtiest fruits at the supermarket. On an index of pesticide toxicity devised by Consumers Union, peaches rank highest.

At the supermarket: Fill your produce bag with organic peaches. And since apples, grapes, pears, and green beans occupy top spots on the Toxicity Index, too, you may want to opt for organic here, as well. Just know that organic produce also contains some pesticide residues, but in minuscule amounts.

At home: "A lot of produce has a natural wax coating that holds pesticides, so wash with a sponge or scrub brush and a dab of mild dishwashing detergent. This can eliminate more than half of the residues," says Edward Groth III, Ph.D., a senior scientist with Consumers Union. But in many cases, pesticides are systemic, meaning they are absorbed by the plant after being applied to seeds, soil, or leaves, and contaminate the meat of the fruit, where washing and peeling won't remove them—which is why it's that much more important to opt for organic.


The dirt: The lettuce on a burger could cause you more grief than the beef. February 2010 tests from Consumers Union on 208 packages of salad greens found that 40 percent tested positive for fecal coliform bacteria. Before then, the Center for Science in the Public Interest estimated that lettuce accounted for 11 percent of reported food-poisoning outbreaks linked to produce from 1990 to 2002, and "salad" accounted for 28 percent.

At the supermarket: Prepackaged salad mix is not inherently more hazardous than loose greens or a head of lettuce. It's the claims of being "triple washed" that lull consumers into complacency.

At home: Rinse salad greens one leaf at a time under running water before eating. Beware of cross-contamination, too. You know it's risky to put salad in the same colander you washed chicken in but may accidentally touch a towel used to wipe up poultry juice, then make a salad.


The dirt: Germs don't take a number in the deli; cold cuts have been labeled at "high risk" of causing listeriosis by a joint team of researchers from the USDA, FDA, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Combine that with the fact that cold cuts are, well, eaten cold, and you've got trouble; Listeria thrives at refrigerator temperatures that stun other foodborne pathogens.

At the supermarket: Turns out the most likely source of Listeria-contaminated cold cuts is the deli slicer. Without regular cleaning, the blade can transfer bacteria from roast beef to turkey to pastrami and back. Don't buy more deli meat than you can eat within two days because the germ multiplies quickly, and remember that they're also one of the saltiest foods in the supermarket, so go low-sodium but skipping altogether.

At home: When you're ready to build your sandwich, slather on the mustard. Researchers at Washington State University killed off 90 percent of three potent pathogens—Listeria, E. coli, and salmonella—within two hours of exposing them to a mustard compound.


The dirt: Sprouted seeds of all kinds—broccoli, alfalfa, mung bean, pea—contain potent amounts of phytonutrients, and broccoli sprouts have even been shown to help prevent stomach cancer. Unfortunately, the warm, humid conditions needed for the sprouts to grow are heaven to Listeria, Salmonella, and E. coli bacteria. According to Marler Clark, a law firm that handles high-profile foodborne-illness cases, sprouts have been blamed for at least 40 significant outbreaks of foodborne illness across the United States, Canada and Europe over the past 20 years.

At the supermarket: The FDA has recommendations for sprout producers to follow, such as decontaminating the seeds before sprouting or conducting regular microbial testing. But experts say those rules aren't strictly enforced. So, bottom line? Don't buy them. But if you must, look for crisp-looking sprouts with the buds attached. Avoid musty-smelling, dark, or slimy-looking sprouts.

At home: If you must get your sprout fix, make sure you refrigerate them as soon as you get them home, and cook them before eating them, or grow your own sprouts right at home.

What other "dirty" foods should we avoid trying to lose weight or simply living a healthy life?

Are you having trouble attaining any level of weight loss success? Check out the list of tips and tricks in my post The 68 Best Ways to Lose Body Fat and More.

Picture Credit: Porterbriggs.com and Jackie Garvin-Could this peach make you sick?

Article Credit:
Author: Michael Moody Fitness with excerpt sourced from the article " The 10 Dirtiest Foods You're Eating " on MSN.com.
"The 10 Dirtiest Foods You're Eating" Review
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