FOODBORNE ILLNESS: THE TEN RISKIEST FOODS!

SEPTEMBER – FOOD SAFETY MONTH!

These 10 foods regulated by the FDA have accounted for 40% of all foodborne illnesses in the United States since 1990. These foods have cause 50,000 illnesses, some ending in death. However, many cases of foodborne illness are never reported.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that for every case of clinically diagnosed and reported salmonellosis, another 38 cases are never proven and/or reported. The list included the following foods.

1. Leafy greens

SPINACH LEAVES
Accounting for 24% of all illnesses in the FDA’s top 10 list, leafy greens most often are contaminated with either E coli, norovirus, or salmonella. Top reasons for contamination include unwashed hands of a handler, improper preparation, and cross-contamination. Contact with wild animals, manure, or contaminated water prior to harvest also is cause for concern.

2. Eggs

HARD BOILED EGGS
Most illnesses from eggs are caused by salmonella. Regulations for cleaning and inspecting eggs have helped matters considerably, but if chickens are infected with Salmonella enteritidis, the chicken’s ovaries become infected and eggs are contaminated before the shells are even formed. In July 2010, regulations were changed for producers with 50,000 or more egg-laying hens to include controls to prevent Salmonella enteritidis. Catered events, prisons, and buffets are where most cases of salmonella from eggs originate, likely because of improper holding temperatures.

3. Tuna


Many people have become ill from the scombroid illness after eating contaminated tuna. Fresh tuna decays quickly after it is caught, and if appropriate measures are not taken, tuna begins to release natural scombrotoxins. Cooking, freezing, smoking, curing, or canning cannot kill the toxin. More than 65% of illness related to tuna ingestion is tied to eating the fish at restaurants. Tuna also is linked to salmonella and norovirus.

4. Oysters

oysters
Oysters sometimes are harvested in water that is contaminated with norovirus. If oysters are eaten raw or undercooked, they can lead to gastroenteritis. The most dangerous pathogens found in oysters are vibrio, which can kill immunocompromised people.

5. Potatoes


Outbreaks from foodborne illness usually are linked to dishes such as potato salad, which contain many other ingredients. Most illnesses are caused by E coli or salmonella, making it obvious that cross-contamination is a common problem when preparing dishes that contain potatoes. Shigella and Listeria monocytogenes, which also are linked to potato-containing dishes, point to improper handling and preparation by infected food preparers and improper cleaning of surfaces, such as deli counters.

6. Cheese

cheese
Cheese can become contaminated, most often with salmonella, during production or processing. The vast majority of infections are caused by consumption of unpasteurized cheese. Pregnant women should avoid soft cheeses, which can carry Listeria monocytogenes, which frequently cause miscarriage even if the mother does not have any symptoms of illness. People who are immunocompromised and elderly people also are advised to avoid soft cheeses because of the risk of contracting listeriosis.

7. Ice cream

icecream
The most common reason for ice cream causing illness is people using undercooked eggs when making ice cream at home. Soft ice cream, like soft cheeses, can become a breeding ground for Listeria monocytogenes. The most famous case of contaminated ice cream, however, was caused by a truck that was used to haul both raw, unpasteurized eggs and pasteurized ice cream mix.

8. Tomatoes

tomatoes
Salmonella can enter tomato plants through the roots or flowers and then can easily enter the fruit. It is very difficult to kill the salmonella without cooking the fruit. Norovirus also is sometimes found in tomatoes. Seventy percent of all illnesses associated with tomatoes were contracted in restaurants.

9. Sprouts

sprouts
The CDC and the FDA strongly recommend that the elderly, children, and immunocompromised individuals avoid consumption of raw sprouts, which may carry E coli or salmonella because of a variety of reasons, including improper handling.

10. Berries

MICROBES 7
The most common cause of illness related to berry ingestion is the cyclospora parasite, which does not resolve itself without a round of antibiotics. A 1997 outbreak of hepatitis A, during which thousands of students became ill, was tied to consumption of frozen strawberries. The contamination may have occurred because of an infected farm worker from Baja, CA.

BE CAREFUL WITH YOUR OWN FOOD PREPARATION AND HANDLING.  WATCH OUT AT PICNICS AND FAMILY GET-TOGETHERS WHERE FOODS MAY BE LEFT AT ROOM TEMPERATURE FOR LONG PERIODS.  THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU ORDER WHEN EATING OUT TOO – KEEP THESE TOP TEN ILLNESS CAUSING FOODS IN THE BACK OF YOUR MIND!

WHAT’S ALL THE HYPE ABOUT GLUTEN FREE?

wheat

I’ve heard a lot of people turning to a gluten free diet for ?weight control?.  Unless you have been diagnosed with Celiac Disease or a gluten intolerance/sensitivity there isn’t any need to avoid gluten.  Plus, I don’t see how eliminating gluten equates to weight loss.  You have to cut  (or burn off) approximately 500 calories each day for weight loss of about 1 pound per week – a reasonable goal.

WHAT IS CELIAC DISEASE?

Celiac disease is an immune reaction to eating gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye.

If you have celiac disease, eating gluten triggers an immune response in your small intestine. Over time, this reaction produces inflammation that damages the small intestine’s lining and prevents absorption of some nutrients (malabsorption).

The intestinal damage can cause weight loss, bloating and sometimes diarrhea. Eventually, your brain, nervous system, bones, liver and other organs can be deprived of vital nourishment.

In children, malabsorption can affect growth and development. The intestinal irritation can cause stomach pain, especially after eating.

There’s no cure for celiac disease — but following a strict gluten-free diet can help manage symptoms and promote intestinal healing.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

The signs and symptoms of celiac disease can vary greatly.

Although the classic signs are diarrhea and weight loss, most people with celiac disease experience few or no digestive signs or symptoms. Only about one-third of people diagnosed with celiac disease experience diarrhea, and about half have weight loss.

Twenty percent of people with celiac disease have constipation, and 10 percent are obese.

In addition to digestive problems, other signs and symptoms of celiac disease include:

  • Anemia, usually resulting from iron deficiency
  • Loss of bone density (osteoporosis) or softening of bone (osteomalacia)
  • Itchy, blistery skin rash (dermatitis herpetiformis)
  • Damage to dental enamel
  • Headaches and fatigue
  • Nervous system injury, including numbness and tingling in the feet and hands, and possible problems with balance
  • Joint pain
  • Reduced functioning of the spleen (hyposplenism)
  • Acid reflux and heartburn

Children
As many as 75 percent of children with celiac disease are overweight or obese. Digestive signs and symptoms are experienced by 20 to 30 percent of children with the condition although the precise signs and symptoms differ by age.

In infants, typical signs and symptoms of celiac disease include:

  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Swollen belly
  • Pain
  • Failure to thrive or weight loss

Older children may experience:

  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Short stature
  • Delayed puberty
  • Neurologic symptoms, including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), learning disability, headaches and lack of muscle coordination

PREVALENCE AND RISK

A study done by Mayo Clinic and the National Institutes of Health estimates that about 1 in 141 people in the U.S. have celiac disease, although the disease often goes undiagnosed. Celiac disease is most common in Caucasians.

Celiac disease can affect anyone. However, it tends to be more common in people who have:

  • A family member with celiac disease or dermatitis herpetiformis
  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Down syndrome or Turner syndrome
  • Autoimmune thyroid disease
  • Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Microscopic colitis (lymphocytic or collagenous colitis)

FOODS TO AVOID

A gluten-free diet is essential, and the only treatment for managing celiac disease. In addition to wheat, foods that contain gluten include:

  • Barley
  • Bulgur
  • Durum
  • Farina
  • Graham flour
  • Malt
  • Rye
  • Semolina
  • Spelt (a form of wheat)
  • Triticale

VITAMIN AND MINERAL SUPPLEMENTS

You may need to supplement your levels of:

  • Calcium
  • Folate
  • Iron
  • Vitamin B-12
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin K
  • Zinc

READ LABELS
Packaged foods should be avoided unless they’re labeled as gluten-free or have no gluten-containing ingredients. In addition to cereals, pastas and baked goods — such as breads, cakes, pies and cookies — other packaged foods that may contain gluten include:

  • Beer
  • Candies
  • Gravies
  • Imitation meats or seafood
  • Processed luncheon meats
  • Salad dressings and sauces, including soy sauce
  • Self-basting poultry
  • Soups

Certain grains, such as oats, can be contaminated with wheat during growing and processing. It’s not clear whether oats are harmful for most people with celiac disease, but doctors generally recommend avoiding oats unless they are specifically labeled gluten-free. Occasionally, even pure oats can be a problem for people with celiac disease.

ALLOWED FOODS
Many basic foods are allowed in a gluten-free diet, including:

  • Fresh meats, fish and poultry that aren’t breaded, batter-coated or marinated
  • Fruits
  • Most dairy products
  • Potatoes
  • Vegetables
  • Wine and distilled liquors, ciders and spirits

Grains and starches allowed in a gluten-free diet include:

  • Amaranth
  • Arrowroot
  • Buckwheat
  • Corn
  • Cornmeal
  • Gluten-free flours (rice, soy, corn, potato, bean)
  • Pure corn tortillas
  • Quinoa
  • Rice
  • Tapioca

Fortunately for bread and pasta lovers with celiac disease, an increasing number of gluten-free products are available. If you can’t find any at your local bakery or grocery store, check online. There are gluten-free substitutes for many gluten-containing foods.  And they have come a long way in improved consistency and taste!

gluten free sampler

This site is based out of Willaimsville, NY Just Ask Josh

More information at: Mayo Clinic