Leafy greens, tomatoes and berries: They’re packed with vitamins and showcased by nutritionists as healthful foods that Americans should eat regularly.
They are also among the 10 foods most likely to make you sick, according to a nonprofit research group’s analysis.
Researchers analyzed federal data collected since 1990 to identify the foods regulated by the Food and Drug Administration that caused the largest numbers of foodborne-illness outbreaks. The 10 riskiest foods were, in descending order: leafy greens, eggs, tuna, oysters, potatoes, cheese, ice cream, tomatoes, sprouts and berries.
“These are the products that people are eating every single day and, in some cases, people eat many of them in one day,” said Sarah Klein, a staff attorney at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, which conducted the study. “One big shame is that so many of these products are healthy for us. Consumers can’t and shouldn’t avoid these foods. And that’s the problem. Consumers can only do so much to make sure they’re not getting sick. That’s why we need the food industry and the FDA to make sure these products are arriving in our homes and our restaurants in a way that’s safe for consumers.”
The foods flagged in the report were contaminated by bacteria, from E.coli O157:H7 in spinach to scombrotoxin in tuna. People who ate the contaminated foods suffered a range of illnesses, from mild stomach cramps to death.
The study, which was released Monday, will be available after 11 a.m. Tuesday at http://www.makeourfoodsafe.org. It did not consider foods regulated by the Agriculture Department, such as meats, poultry and some egg products.