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Foods That Can Make You Sick

By Sara Butler

Food poisoning can strike anyone and any time. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that 1 of every 6 people who get sick every year gets sick because of something they’ve eaten. Foodborne illness can be a big problem, but there are some ways you can avoid falling victim to it. Here are some of the foods the Food and Drug Administration has flagged as more likely to be contaminated than others – so eat at your own risk.

Leafy Greens

Kale, spinach, and lettuce are good for you and packed with all kind of vitamins and minerals your body needs to function, but they can also be loaded with bacteria. About 24 percent of the outbreaks of foodborne illness are due to leafy greens. The way these vegetables are grown is usually the culprit; if they’re grown close to where cattle are raised, then residue from the cattle can wash over to the field where the vegetables are grown.

This doesn’t mean you should avoid leafy greens; you should simply wash them thoroughly before you eat them and also make sure you avoid bagged products since they’ve been chopped up and handled. Consider sautéing them instead of eating them raw for some extra protection.


Eggs are almost the perfect food, but the outer shell can be a breeding ground for salmonella. This is why you should make sure to eat eggs boiled or scrambled instead of sunny side up or poached since the best way to kill bacteria is to cook what you’re eating really well. This is also why it’s never a good idea to eat raw cookie dough!


Oysters may be a delicacy, but if the waters they were harvested from are infected with norovirus you’ll be wishing you never laid eyes on an oyster. If you eat a raw oyster that is contaminated you can experience inflammation of your gastrointestinal tract. That can lead to fever, low blood pressure, chills and blistering skin lesions. Your best bet is to avoid raw oysters and opt instead for baked or steamed ones – you don’t want to play oyster roulette with your health!


You can be made sick by spuds. Salmonella is the biggest threat and has been associated with up to 30 percent of outbreaks of illness caused by potatoes. This is why you should always rinse potatoes well before using them. When you bake them, don’t use aluminum foil either since it prevents the temperature from reaching the degree necessary to kill bacteria. Also, be wary of potato-based salads since they can harbor bacteria. If that potato salad has been sitting out a while, take a pass it!

Stay healthy when you eat out by educating yourself on foods that can hurt you!

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