I asked on a Food Safety Listserve what foods are considered the most unsafe.  You see, I feel a bit guilty always beating up on Hamburger, Leafy Greens and Raw Milk.  Someone on the list gave me a link to a list of at risk foods for people undergoing cancer treatments.  Here is the list.

Some foods have a higher risk of food poisoning. Here are some foods that can become tainted with bacteria, such as Listeria (causing an infection called listeriosis), E. coli, Salmonella, Campylobacter, and Vibrio, in addition to Toxoplasma, a parasite.

• Cold hot dogs or deli lunch meat (cold cuts)—always cook or reheat until the food is steaming hot
• Dry-cured, uncooked salami
• Unpasteurized (raw) milk and milk products, including raw milk yogurt
• Soft cheeses made from unpasteurized milk, such as blue-veined (a type of blue cheese), Brie, Camembert, feta, goat cheese, and queso fresco or blanco
• Cold smoked fish
• Deli-prepared salads with egg, ham, chicken, or seafood
• Refrigerated pâté
• Unwashed fresh fruit and vegetables
• Unpasteurized fruit juice or cider
• Raw sprouts, such as alfalfa sprouts
• Raw or undercooked beef, especially ground beef, or other raw or undercooked meat and poultry
• Raw or undercooked shellfish (such as oysters)—these items may carry the hepatitis A virus and should be cooked thoroughly to destroy the virus
• Some types of fish, raw or cooked, as it may contain high levels of mercury
• Sushi and sashimi, which often contain raw fish—commercially frozen fish (especially those labeled “sushi-grade” or “sashimi grade”) is safer than other fish, but check with your doctor before eating these foods
• Undercooked eggs, such as soft boiled, over easy, and poached; raw unpasteurized eggs, or foods made with raw egg, such as homemade raw cookie dough

Any other ideas?

  • Sheeesh! Is there anything left that we CAN eat? This week, I saw the documentary “Food, Inc” which is excellent but disturbing. Enough to put you off beef, pork, chicken, soybeans, you name it…
    And now there’s this long list here! Canada had a horrific outbreak of listeriosis from tainted meat at the Maple Leaf Meats plant in Ontario last year. I’m still stunned when I see people lined up at the deli counter since then.
    Thanks for this info! Keep up the good work.
    Carolyn Thomas

  • Ellie

    For undercooked eggs, people can opt for a safe option in pasteurized liquid and shell eggs. I wish cold-smoked fish wasn’t on this list because I really love a good lox sandwich.

  • Laura Hendley

    canned food that is not from a licensed source, like you might see at farmer’s market
    any food from an unlicensed source or served at a nonpermitted event