How To Prevent Foodborne Illnesses With At-Risk Foods

NEW YORK (CBS 2) – When it comes to eating healthy, many try their best to do so, but even the healthiest foods can make you sick and it depends on how consumers handle them.

Veggies like cucumbers and tomatoes are high-risks foods when it comes to foodborne illnesses, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), which is a big surprise for many healthy eaters.

“I eat all of those foods,” Upper West Side resident Nikki Stark says. “Fruits, nuts, all of that.”

Even at the salad bar, consumers must be on the watch. Experts recommend skipping the raw sprouts and only eating beans and grains when they’re thoroughly cooked. The same method applies to fruits: clean and peel them—even if they’re organic.

“So melons, bananas, avocado, all of those things you’re going to cut through the skin and when you do that you bring the bacteria from the skin and when you do that you bring the bacteria from the skin into the flesh of the food,” nutritionist Willow Jarosh says.

When it comes to meat, however, you don’t need to wash it before you cook it.

“Chicken, fish, and meat do not need to be rinsed before it’s cooked,” Jarosh says. “Rinsing it actually spreads the bacteria all over your sink and has the potential to spread it to your sponge and to everything around your sink.”

What kills the bacteria is cooking the meat to the right temperature using a thermometer and waiting at least 3 minutes before cutting or eating.

With eggs, salmonella bacteria can be a risk and while many people store them on the door, experts say it’s safer to store them on the refrigerator shelf where they’ll stay cooler.

Leafy greens are also on the high risk list, but if you buy triple-washed, ready-to-eat veggies, then you don’t no need to wash again.

“So open up the bag, use as is and feel confident that it is perfectly okay,” Jarosh says, adding that the extra wash puts them at risk for picking up germs in the kitchen.

Experts say it’s also a good idea to keep up with food recalls, which you can find on government websites.

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