Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Are The 10 Riskiest Foods Worth the Risk?

Posted By on Tue, Jun 15, 2010 at 4:30 PM

click to enlarge Delicious! Deadly? - IMAGE VIA
The Center for Science in the Public Interest has released a new report ranking the ten "riskiest" foods regulated by the FDA (link PDF) based on the number of outbreaks linked to each particular food. Those who have followed all the salmonella, E. coli and other outbreaks of the past few years won't be surprised to find leafy greens at the top of the list, but other culprits -- potatoes? -- might shock you.

(For those wondering "Where's the beef?", the USDA, not the FDA, regulates meat.)

Nearly all of the ten foods are staples, and the few that aren't everyday items are by no means exotic. But are any of them worth the risk of the runs, organ failure or even (gulp) death?

We've crunched the data in the Gut Check International Headquarters supercomputer, and after the jump, we issue a verdict for each of the ten riskiest foods: Avoid, Proceed with Caution or Chow Down!

click to enlarge IMAGE VIA
1. Leafy Greens (363 Outbreaks)

"Eat your greens!" Mom always said. Or was it Popeye? More to the point: Would Mom or Popeye have been so insistent if they'd known we'd take bagged, "triple-washed" greens for granted and thus risk swallowing E. coli with our ranch-dressing-soaked dinner salad? Yeah, greens can help you kick Bluto's butt, but take the extra couple of minutes to wash them first.

Verdict: Proceed With Caution

click to enlarge IMAGE VIA
2. Eggs (352 Outbreaks)

Gut Check has no actual proof to back up this claim, but we're going to blame the high number of egg-related outbreaks on hollandaise sauce. It's just vile, OK? Otherwise, eggs rule. One piece of advice, though: If your egg yolks are yellow, not orange, you need to find better eggs.

Verdict: Chow Down!

click to enlarge IMAGE VIA
3. Tuna (268 Outbreaks)

Who's sorry now, Charlie? Apparently, tuna -- especially fresh tuna -- puts you at risk for something called scrombroid, which just sounds like a disease you need a topical cream to cure. (You don't.) At the very least, tuna's presence on the list might scare off some diners who would otherwise chow down on the wildly overfished bluefin.

Verdict: Proceed With Caution

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