Top Ten Riskiest Food ~ From that Chilliwack Girl!

Real Estate Agent

I don't know about you but with all the attention that the Swine Flu  &  Food Born Illnesses are getting - suddenly I'm more aware of the things I do.  I keep hearing my Dad's voice in my 5 year old mind saying 'wash your hands' - 'did you wash your hands?'.........actually all my life!  It used to drive me crazy!  And then he said the same thing to my kids while they were growing up..........Its amazing how much smarter our parents get as we get older eh? :-)Traditional Naturopathy

Well I thought it would be interesting to share this info ~ for those of you who didn't know that you didn't know?   

Did you know that foodborne disease outbreaks are currently responsible for tens of millions of illnesses, hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations, and thousands of deaths every year in the United States& Canada?.

This week the Center for Science in the Public Interest  published their report of the top ten riskiest foods:

1. LEAFY GREENS: 363 outbreaks involving 13,568 reported cases of illness
Salads and other leafy greens account for 24 percent of all of the outbreaks  E. coli accounts for 10 percent of all outbreaks in leafy greens; Norovirus, which is commonly spread by the unwashed hands of an ill handler or consumer was linked to 64 percent of the outbreaks in leafy greens. Salmonella was responsible for nearly 10 percent of the outbreaks.

 2. EGGS: 352 outbreaks involving 11,163 reported cases of illness
The overwhelming majority of illnesses from eggs are associated with Salmonella.  Salmonella enteritidis, the most prevalent type of Salmonella in eggs today, infects the ovaries of otherwise healthy hens and contaminates the eggs before the shells are formed. Notably, final regulations that require the adoption of controls aimed at minimizing Salmonella enteriditis in egg production were issued in July 2009 (and will become effective in 2010 or 2012, depending on producer size)  Half of all egg outbreaks occurred from restaurants and other food establishments.




3. TUNA: 268 outbreaks involving 2341 reported cases of illness
Fresh fish decay quickly after being caught and, if stored above 60F degrees, begin to release natural toxins that are dangerous for humans. Adequate refrigeration and handling can slow this spoilage, but the toxin cannot be destroyed by cooking, freezing, smoking, curing, or canning.

Symptoms of scombroid poisoning can include skin flushing, headaches, abdominal cramps, nausea, diarrhea, palpitations, and loss of vision. In addition to scombrotoxin, Norovirus and Salmonella caused illnesses related to tuna consumption, affecting nearly 1000 people. Over 65 percent of outbreaks linked to tuna occurred in restaurants.



4. OYSTERS: 132 outbreaks involving 3409 reported cases of illness
Though they comprise a trivial part of the American diet, tainted oysters are the fourth entry in the FDA Top Ten,  the majority of outbreaks from oysters occurred in restaurants.

Illnesses from oysters occur primarily from two sources: Norovirus and Vibrio. When served raw or undercooked, oysters can cause gastroenteritis, an inflammation of the stomach and small or large intestines.

The most dangerous of the two pathogens found in oysters is Vibrio. This hazard is a type of bacterium in the same family as cholera.  V. vulnificus can infect the bloodstream, causing a severe and life-threatening illness characterized by fever and chills, decreased blood pressure (septic shock), and blistering skin lesions. V. vulnificus bloodstream infections, called septicemia, are fatal about 50 percent of the time. So much for that being an aphrodisiac now! 




5. POTATOES: 108 outbreaks involving 3659 reported cases of illness
Potatoes, often in the form of potato salad, were linked to 108 outbreaks, with more 3600 consumers reported to have been sickened by spuds since 1990. Cross contamination from the raw to the cooked ingredients or possibly from raw meat or poultry during handling and preparation, most often found in potato salad.


6. CHEESE: 83 outbreaks involving 2761 reported cases of illness
Cheese products were linked to 83 outbreaks that sickened thousands of consumers since 1990, making it number six of the FDA Top Ten. Salmonella was the most common hazard among cheese products.

Cheese can become contaminated during the initial phases of production (curdling, molding, and salting), or later during processing. Most cheeses are now made with pasteurized milk, lowering the risk of contamination with milk-borne pathogens. However, as recently as August 2009, California officials warned consumers about eating Latin American-style cheeses (such as queso fresco, queso oaxaca, and others), which may be made by unlicensed manufacturers using unpasteurized milk that could contain harmful bacteria.

Pregnant women should be particularly cautious about consumption of soft cheeses (such as feta, Brie, Camembert, blue-veined, and Mexican-style cheese), which can carry Listeria. Linked to at least four outbreaks from cheese since 1990, listeriosis is vastly under-reported, since overt symptoms of infection can be mild in those who are not particularly at risk. Outbreaks from cheese products occur most frequently in private homes.




7. ICE CREAM: 74 outbreaks involving 2594 reported cases of illness
The largest ice-cream outbreak in history occurred in 1994, when a popular ice cream manufacturer used the same truck to haul raw, unpasteurized eggs and pasteurized ice cream premix. Contaminated with Salmonella en route to the plant, the premix was not pasteurized again before being incorporated into ice cream products. The result: thousands of people sickened in 41 states.

Soft ice cream can be a particular hazard to pregnant women and others who are more susceptible to listeriosis. A particularly hardy bacterium, Listeria can survive on metal surfaces-such as the interior of soft ice cream machines-and may contaminate batch after batch of products. Almost half of all ice-cream outbreaks contained in CSPI's database occurred in private homes. This is most likely due to the use of undercooked eggs in homemade ice cream.


 8. TOMATOES: 31 outbreaks involving 3292 reported cases of illness
In 2005 and 2006, tomatoes were implicated in four large multistate outbreaks of Salmonella, sickening hundreds of people across the country. Tomatoes have caused at least 31 identified outbreaks since 1990. The most common hazard associated with tomatoes is Salmonella, which accounted for over half of the reported outbreaks.

Salmonella can enter tomato plants through roots or flowers and can enter the tomato fruit through small cracks in the skin, the stem scar, or the plant itself. Once inside, destruction of Salmonella without cooking the tomato is very difficult. Norovirus was the second-most common hazard. Restaurants were responsible for 70 percent of all illnesses associated with tomatoes.



9. SPROUTS: 31 outbreaks involving 2022 reported cases of illness
Raw and lightly cooked sprouts have been recognized as a source of foodborne illness in the U.S. since the 1990s. Since 1999, CDC and FDA have recommended that persons at high risk for complications of infection with Salmonella and E. coli O157:H7, such as the elderly, young children, and those with compromised immune systems, not eat raw sprouts.



10. BERRIES: 25 outbreaks involving 3397 reported cases of illness
In 1997, over 2.6 million pounds of contaminated strawberries were recalled after thousands of students across several states reported illnesses from eating frozen strawberries in their school lunches. Hepatitis A was the culprit, and contamination may have occurred through an infected worker at a farm in Baja California, Mexico. That same year, raspberries imported from Guatemala and Chile were implicated in an outbreak of Cyclospora across five states. Most of these illnesses, affecting 2700 consumers, were caused by Cyclospora in berries. The resulting infection is a parasitic illness of the intestines, which can cause severe diarrhea, dehydration, and stomach cramps. Importantly, the illness does not resolve itself without antibiotics, thus requiring a trip to the doctor.





So what can we do to protect ourselves foodborne illness? Follow these precautions form the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

COOK meat, poultry and eggs thoroughly. Using a thermometer to measure the internal temperature of meat is a good way to be sure that it is cooked sufficiently to kill bacteria. For example, ground beef should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160F. Eggs should be cooked until the yolk is firm.

SEPARATE: Don't cross-contaminate one food with another. Avoid cross-contaminating foods by washing hands, utensils, and cutting boards after they have been in contact with raw meat or poultry and before they touch another food. Put cooked meat on a clean platter, rather back on one that held the raw meat.

CHILL: Refrigerate leftovers promptly. Bacteria can grow quickly at room temperature, so refrigerate leftover foods if they are not going to be eaten within 4 hours. Large volumes of food will cool more quickly if they are divided into several shallow containers for refrigeration.

CLEAN: Wash produce. Rinse fresh fruits and vegetables in running tap water to remove visible dirt and grime. Remove and discard the outermost leaves of a head of lettuce or cabbage. Because bacteria can grow well on the cut surface of fruit or vegetable, be careful not to contaminate these foods while slicing them up on the cutting board, and avoid leaving cut produce at room temperature for many hours. Don't be a source of foodborne illness yourself. Wash your hands with soap and water before preparing food. Avoid preparing food for others if you yourself have a diarrheal illness.  Changing a baby's diaper while preparing food is a bad idea that can easily spread illness.

REPORT: Report suspected foodborne illnesses to your local health department. The local public health department is an important part of the food safety system. Often calls from concerned citizens are how outbreaks are first detected. If a public health official contacts you to find our more about an illness you had, your cooperation is important. In public health investigations, it can be as important to talk to healthy people as to ill people. Your cooperation may be needed even if you are not ill.

SPEAK UP : The House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed bipartisan food safety reform legislation in July 2009 that would update the law and strengthen the system: Now the Senate must act. Your Senators have the opportunity to change course and help protect children, families, senior citizens and all others from foodborne illness. Tell your Senators it is time to pass strong food safety legislation now! You can also ask Prime Minister Harper to fix the food safety deficit in Canada ).





If you or someone you know is thinking of Buying or Selling property in Chilliwack, Hope, Abbotsford, Langley or anywhere in the Fraser Valley Area of B.C. - or if you would like more information please give Liz  Moras of Landmark Realty Chilliwack a call at- 604-799-0459 or e-mail at     

Copyright © 2009 By Liz Moras, All Rights Reserved. All photos by Liz Moras. All information provided by this author is only an opinion, it is not guaranteed, may be based on information collected from several sources, and may be time sensitive.  It is not necessarily representative of the opinions of Landmark Realty Chwk. Ltd..   







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Kathy Schowe
California Lifestyle Realty - La Quinta, CA
La Quinta, California 760-333-8886

Unfortunately these are all my favorite foods-- and I will not be eliminating them!!  The first picture i the key---alot of health issues can be avoided just by washing your hands!

Oct 10, 2009 09:53 AM #1
Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices


Wow, this is a research, no less. What a commendable job!

I understand the concern, but I do not believe we can avoid contact with harmful bacteria. It is way more difficult to fight it than any terrorist. They are too small and they are everywhere. My understanding is that we are always in contact with harmful bacteria in our daily activities, and our defense mechanism is way more important than the attempt to prevent the bacteria from coming in contact with us..

Chinese (at least that's what I read) have a saying that every person should eat a handful of dirt a day. It may sound terrible, but in reality what it means is that we need to train our body to defend itself. And we can't do it by trying to prevent the contact with bacteria. But "training" our immune system, being always in contact with the world helps our saliva work as the first line of defense, but for that it has to be "trained". You can use the soap that kills bacteria, but you may weaken your immune system, as it needs exercise like our muscles.

I am not a doctor, but doctors agree that some people get sick and some not. In the outbreaks you describe most propbably not everyone sitting at a table and eating contaminated food got sick. Some did, some not. I think looking into what makes some not get sick is a more promising direction than just trying to prevent the contact with bacteria.

Of course, there are ways guaranteeing getting sick. Like getting "fresh" HIV into someone's bloodstream. Still there are people who would not get it, but the overwhelming majority would, so these situations can really be dangerous. Something that gets through our mouth may be a different story. It first "meets" saliva in our mouth, and then acid in our stomach. What might be a problem is our unconditional love for unnecessary pills, like the ones reducing the acidity in our stomach. then we really open the door for trouble.

Just a thought


Oct 10, 2009 10:19 AM #2
Sonja Patterson
Keller Williams - BV - College Station, TX
Texas Monthly 5-Star Realtor Recipient for the Hou

Ok, the ice cream making the list...really surprised me!!  Fortunately, the farmers in TX ALWAYS wash their hands before milking! ;)

Oct 10, 2009 10:19 AM #3
Wayne Johnson
Coldwell Banker D'Ann Harper REALTORS® - San Antonio, TX
San Antonio REALTOR, San Antonio Homes For Sale


Your presentation of this material really got my attention. Funny how some of the simple, low cost, old-fashioned ways can be some of the most effective in preventing illness.

You can't earn if you're ill. Good post.

Oct 10, 2009 11:39 AM #4
Liz Moras Migic
Chilliwack, BC
Chilliwack, British Columbia - Realtor

Oh my word Jon - you should do a counter  POST! Its a worthy read- thanks! :-)

Sonja - hmmm now i'm thinking I want some icecream! :-)

Wayne thank you! Like old wives tales - so many so true!

Oct 10, 2009 11:50 AM #5
Sylvie Conde
Sutton Group-Associates Realty Inc., Brokerage - Toronto, ON
Broker, Toronto Real Estate

Liz, if you wash it properly, cook it properly, wash your hands all the time, keep the cold foods cold, and the hot foods hot and away from each other, you should be fine.

There's no way I'm giving up fresh greens.  I wash them and triple wash them and then I put enough acid in them to kill anything that's leftover.   I even wash the ones that say they've been pre-washed.

Not one week goes by that I don't shop for most of those items (except sprouts and oysters). 
I think those are the top ten because they're people's favourites.  


Oct 10, 2009 12:02 PM #6
Kathy Clulow
RE/MAX All-Stars Realty Inc. Brokerage - Uxbridge, ON
Trusted For Experience - Respected For Results

Liz - between what is most likely to make you sick ... what is not good for you ... and what the doctor says you should lay off the choice of food is growing smaller

Oct 10, 2009 12:34 PM #7
Sheldon Neal
Bergen County, NJ - RE/MAX Real Estate Limited - Maywood, NJ
That British Agent Bergen County NJ

POTATOES TOO ?!?!???!?! Sheesh ! Whats a British guy to eat these days ?!?!?!??!!





Oct 10, 2009 01:25 PM #8
Monika Depalo
REAL ESTATE Agent/Stager

If you nuke your greens and veggies even for 30 seconds you can kill some germs.

Did you know that gas trucks empty gasoline and then clean it and then they are allowed to fill that same truck with ice cream?  This caused a recall of many gallons of vanilla icream delivered by a home delivery food service about 10 years ago

Try to buy American food--it is safer and also keeps jobs here.

Oct 10, 2009 03:03 PM #9
Fred Carver Personal Real Estate Corporation
RE/MAX Camosun Victoria BC Real Estate - Victoria, BC
Accredited Real Estate Consultant

Hi Liz..No Hope for me know I eat all these foods, Probably why I'm Grey and old.

Cheers, great post info..

PS: Funny thing is My Mum used to tell me to wash my hands before every meal and before bed you suppose your Dad and my Mum knew each other?

Oct 10, 2009 04:00 PM #10
Steven L. Smith
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc. - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham WA Home Inspector


I really found that interesting. I love oysters, but not raw.

Oct 10, 2009 04:12 PM #11
Tim Maitski
Atlanta Communities Real Estate Brokerage - Atlanta, GA
Truth, Excellence and a Good Deal

I wouldn't be one to push for that legislation.  Have you read about how it will affect small, local producers?    A small local bakery will have to comply with all kinds of regulations that will just drive their costs way up and probably put them out of business.  Large food producers love this because it will mean less competition from local producers.  Do you like going to local farmer's markets?  Do you think small time producers are going to be able to set up all of the systems to comply with all of the tracking that has to be done?  Say goodbye to vine ripe locally grown tomatoes and get used to those waxy red things that they call tomatoes in the big grocery stores.

Like most government regulations, it sounds good but the unintended consequences aren't very good.

Oct 11, 2009 12:01 AM #12
Toronto, ON

Liz - This is a great post to raise awareness of some food safety issues.  It's very useful.

Oct 11, 2009 01:20 AM #13
Liz Moras Migic
Chilliwack, BC
Chilliwack, British Columbia - Realtor

Marc -it kind of opened my eyes!

Tim thats an interesting wa of looking at it - I didn't think of that!

Steven - how do you like them?  Smoked?


Oct 11, 2009 04:16 AM #14
Liz Moras Migic
Chilliwack, BC
Chilliwack, British Columbia - Realtor

Fred- lol -I DO think they must have known each other!  The older I get the more I find out how right my parents were about so many things!

Oct 11, 2009 04:17 AM #15
Liz Moras Migic
Chilliwack, BC
Chilliwack, British Columbia - Realtor

Monika - well 'local' is preferable most of the time I'd think - there's a bug push here (canada, b.c.) to buy local! The icecream thing is crazy :-(

sheldon - i don't think we quit eating any of it - just learning to be super careful while preparing i guess?

Kathy - hmmm maybe we shouldn't eat as MUCH? lol

Oct 11, 2009 04:19 AM #16
Liz Moras Migic
Chilliwack, BC
Chilliwack, British Columbia - Realtor

Sylvie - You my girl are a Gourmand! So I would expect nothing less - apart from the fact I thought - she does ALL THAT??? Wow I'm impressed! :-) Can you take pictures of the food you're preparing tonight? :-)

Oct 11, 2009 04:24 AM #17
Liz Moras Migic
Chilliwack, BC
Chilliwack, British Columbia - Realtor

Good link Wayne thanks!

Sonja -thats so funny -of course they do!  I think a lot of reference to that was 'home made icecream?

And Jon Jon -you're amazing! Look at the detail you went through in the response -you should do a follow-up post with that info! Amazing :-) I'm off to dig some dirt!:-)

Kathy - I think with the handwashing we're way ahead of the game! :-) 

Oct 11, 2009 04:27 AM #18
Brian Madigan
RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage (Toronto) - Toronto, ON
LL.B., Broker



This is very helpful. I suppose if I were to do some research the information was "out there", but this is very timely information when the flu season is approaching.

A rather well-known restaurant in Toronto was just closed. One death is attributed to food poisoning, and of course, many others got sick.



Oct 11, 2009 06:47 AM #19
Liz Moras Migic
Chilliwack, BC
Chilliwack, British Columbia - Realtor

Brian -yikes.......hmmm iguess you can't tell us the name of the restaurant?  hmmm i'llhave to google it!

Oct 11, 2009 06:56 AM #20
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