Every year the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention receive word of approximately 76 million cases of food poisoning in America. While some result in minor stomach upset other cases cause severe vomiting and dangerous dehydration.  What’s even more tragic is that 5,000 of those affected by a food-borne virus each year die as a result.

Harmful bacteria can contaminate our food at any phase of production—from food cultivation on the farm to processing at the manufacturing facility. When you buy food at the grocery store and bring it home, you’re often gambling on the fact that it’s safe to eat.

Here are the ten foods most likely to cause food poisoning…

1. Chicken

Center for Disease Control fingers this poultry as the top culprit of list of food borne illness, particularly salmonella and staph bacteria, as well as campylobacter bacteria.

2. Ground Beef & Chicken

Beef is second on the list of most prone foods to carry bacteria. In fact, undercooked ground beef and ground chicken are both primary source when beef cooking temperature doesn’t reach at least 160-degrees Fahrenheit, that’s why cooking beef to well done is always the safest bet.

3. Eggs

Eggs are a ripe source of salmonella poisoning, where contamination typically occurs during hen incubation before shells are even developed.  That’s why consuming raw or lightly cooked eggs is never a wise idea.

4. Shellfish

Crab, oysters, shrimp, and lobster often contain harmful food poisoning-causing bacteria—even before their fished out of the water. That’s why shellfish should always be cooked and never consumed raw.

5. Leafy Greens

Green, leafy vegetables—like arugula, lettuce, and baby spinach are the most frequently contaminated with bacteria if they come in contact with animal or water contamination, or poor handling practices during processing.

6. Tomatoes

Even fresh vegetables at the grocer or famer’s market need to be washed thoroughly before eating to remove surface traces of dirt, bacteria, and pesticides that can make you sick.

7. Cheese

Certain types of bacteria are prone to cheese. For instance, listeria monocytogenes bacteria, commonly found in soft cheeses, like brie.

8. Alfalfa Sprouts

Health organizations, such as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, have long warned against store-bought alfalfa sprouts because they are rampant with Salmonella, and often carry microbes because of their high moisture content.

9. Deli Meats

Like soft cheeses, listeria monocytogenes bacteria are also common in prepared pates, deli salads, and sliced deli meats.

10. Berries

Fresh fruit are vital to health because they are high in vitamins and nutrients. But when it comes to fruits with crevices—particularly blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries—they do need to be washed before use to excess dirt, bacteria, and pesticide residue.

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