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25 Common Foods That Cause Food Poisoning


Sprouts are great for your health. They’re high in protein, vitamins, and minerals. They also put you at such a high risk of getting food poisoning that experts recommend steering clear of them completely.

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Unpasteurized Dairy

Many times, it’s better to go organic than not. Unprocessed food is better for you than processed food, right? Well, in the case of milk, sometimes you need a bit of processing. Unprocessed milk can lead to E. Coli, listeria, and salmonella infections. That’s pretty much every way to get food poisoning all in one list.


Not many people know that beef can give you food poisoning. You need to make sure it is cooked thoroughly to prevent food poisoning. This means there shouldn’t be any pink, unless, for some reason, you’ve cooked the outside thoroughly. Steak is considered safe with a little pink, but scientists think you shouldn't take the chance. The FDA suggests you cook a steak to 145 degrees to be safe while ground beef needs to be cooked to 160 degrees Fahrenheit. If you stop cooking it sooner,  you could end up with a bad case of E. Coli from eating raw beef.

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We all know fish is a touchy food. There’s a reason you try to only eat it when you’re near the coastal cities. You have to store it at the perfect temperatures, otherwise you could get scombroid poisoning. If the fish ate something with ciguatera, you could get ciguatera fish poisoning. Both are scary sounding and are hard to get rid of. Do your best to eat fish only from places where you are confident they are serving the best of the best.


We all know you have to be extra careful with chicken. If it’s undercooked. You can get salmonella, the really ugly sickness that could easily land you in the hospital. If you prep it wrong, salmonella could spread. If you wash your hands wrong, you could get sick. Chicken is super finicky, but if you’re extra careful about being clean and you cook the chicken thoroughly, you should be fine.

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Like the chickens they come from, you can get salmonella from eggs. They’re super healthy. They come in nice little packages. Serving sizes are easier to figure out than most pre-packaged foods. Despite all these great things about eggs, you have to be cautious. Make sure you clean everything after you start prepping or your whole family could quickly get under the weather.


Some shellfish, like oysters, are really good for you. Sadly, eating shellfish comes with a risk. Shellfish often eat foods that are poisonous to humans, so eating them could lead to you getting food poisoning because of the buildup of poison in their system. There are four main ways you can get poisoned: Amnestic, diarrheal, neurotoxic, and paralytic. All of those sound terrible, so be sure to cook your shellfish thoroughly.

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Deli Meats

Ready-to-eat-meats like deli meats should be handled with care. It’s possible to contract an illness called Listeriosis from the food. Most people have a high-level of immunity to the illness, but everybody is at risk, especially pregnant women and the elderly. Symptoms can take up to a month to present themselves. If you want to avoid this infection, make sure to heat the meat up just before you eat it.


Berries are the perfect snack-food. They’re healthy, flavorful, and are the perfect size to eat exactly the right amount. Bugs like these foods as much as we do, though. They are often heavily dosed in pesticides, and the many crevices on the berries make it extremely difficult to wash the chemicals off. Make sure to wash thoroughly before you eat them.


Mushrooms are a love ‘em or hate ‘em food, but they can make their most devoted consumers regret eating them. Wild mushrooms are widely regarded as poisonous, so you should already know to steer clear of them. It’s possible to get sick from eating your normal mushrooms, though. Gastrointestinal issues can occur so quickly you may not have even left the dinner table. Make sure you’re eating fresh, good mushrooms. 

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We already know that fish can give you food poisoning. Tuna has to have its own spot on this list, though. Why? Because it’s available in so many different ways than most fish. You can get it cold, but you can also get it canned or bag. People pack it in their lunches for work or casually whip it up on the weekends. It’s more consumed more casually than other fish. That doesn’t mean it’s any safer, though. If it’s stored above 60 degrees Fahrenheit, a toxin called scombrotoxin, a chemical that cannot be destroyed by cooking.

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Rice, something you probably eat at least once a week, can cause food poisoning. Don’t worry about cooking it, though. That’s not where the problem comes into play. The real problem is when you go to dig into those leftovers. If you left the rice sitting out at room temperature for too long before refrigerating, bacteria can grow.


Melons are an odd food when it comes to food poisoning. Like berries, they are doused, bathed, and showered in pesticides. We don’t even have to tell you that consuming pesticides if bad, but melons? They have a thick rind, so they should be safe, right? Wrong. Without first washing the outside of the melon, the chemicals on the outside can be shoved inside the melon as you cut it. These cases aren’t extremely common, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.


If you think about it, cheese is one of the weirdest things we eat. You take something super sensitive (dairy), and instead of keeping it cold, you leave it out, let the milk curdle, maybe let a little bit of mold on it, then eat the thing. That seems to go against all logic. Unsurprisingly, it’s possible to get sick from eating cheese. Bacteria can grow in any cheese, especially the soft ones, so consume it with caution.

Leafy Greens

Your momma probably nagged you about eating those green veggies when you were growing up. However, according to CDC, they are the food most likely to give you food poisoning. Often, the poisoning is the result of improper handling, so make sure you’ve properly cleaned those veggies before you eat them.

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Why is it so important to wash your produce? Because you get them “as is.” This means that it can have anything on them from animal feces to pesticides. Even if you buy them from the store (and especially if you buy them from a farmer’s market) wash your tomatoes really well because they can easily be contaminated with harmful bacteria that can cause some severe stomach upset.


You may feel like you need to wash a potato to get rid of the dirt, and while that’s true, dangerous bacteria could be lurking on the skin. Potato-related outbreaks aren’t uncommon, and Listeria, Shigella, E. coli, and Salmonella have all been linked to the humble spud.

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Ice Cream

Say it isn’t so! Sadly, it is. Ice cream can be pretty dangerous. Since the 1990s, there have been 75 outbreaks caused by bacteria found in the sweet treat. In 1994 alone, 224,000 people got sickened with Salmonella. We’re not saying you should stay away from ice cream because that would be impossible. Just make sure to buy from reputable sources.

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Peanut Butter

We all love a good tablespoon of peanut butter (or more), but we can’t forget the great peanut butter recall of 2012. Hundreds of products were recalled after 42 people in 20 states were poisoned with Salmonella. All of the products came from a plant in New Mexico. Another outbreak happened in 2008 and 2009 where more than 700 people got sick.

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“Raw” Water

So, there’s a recent craze that’s becoming pretty popular. Along with raw milk, people are beginning to drink “raw” water. The idea of clear, clean water appeals to anyone, but even clear water can be infected with deadly bacteria. After all, there’s a reason that we treat our water. It gets rid of any microbes that also enjoy a beautiful clear glass of water. Even the cleanest streams can be contaminated with animal feces.

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Uncooked Flour

Remember when your mom told you not to eat raw cookie dough? She was onto something. Uncooked flour can spread E. coli – meaning it isn’t just the eggs that are dangerous. People everywhere lick batter off their fingers after baking, but that doesn’t mean they’re safe. It’s so bad that food poisoning experts refuse to eat it without having it cooked in some delicious food.

Sunflower Seeds

Eating nuts can be incredibly healthy for you, but some nuts can be dangerous. In 2016, 196 recalls were issued for nuts due to Listeria contamination with 50 being for sunflower seeds alone. The seeds were found in a variety of foods including granola, trail mixes, protein, and salad toppings.

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Pistachios are pretty expensive, so you want to believe they’re safe. Except, a series of recalls has revealed that it’s easy for them to be infected with Salmonella. In fact, out of the 99 recalls for Salmonella poisoning in 2016, most of the recalls were attributed to pistachios! This goes for both shelled and unshelled varieties.

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This year, we’ve had a lot of recalls due to food poisoning. Pork was one of the culprits. While E. coli was a significant concern, but trichinosis was another massive issue with pork. Unless it’s cooked properly, trichinosis is a disease caused by a parasite that can cause substantial stomach upset, aches, chills, fever, and more. 

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Avocados are full of healthy fats, and they can also be full of Salmonella and Listeria. Over the last eight years, there have been several recalls for avocados. It isn’t just raw avocado either – frozen and smashed can be dangerous for your health. Most often, guacamole was the food that caused sickness, which breaks our hearts. We love guac, but with over 8,200 cases of avocado recalled over four years, we’re going to have to pass.

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