There is a whole slew of dangerous and deadly viruses and bacteria that come from food. Whether it is listeria in cantaloupes, E.coli in sprouts, or even salmonella in ground turkey and peanut butter, it seems like our food supply is more dangerous than ever.
Since government programs are facing unprecedented budget cuts, it leaves food and safety in the hands of the average consumer to keep our kitchens and food safe and clear of harmful viruses and bacteria. So just where are these bugs lurking? Most likely in one of these 10 foods.
The Dirt: According to test released by Consumer Reports in 2010, they found campylobacter in 62% of tested broilers; salmonella turned up in 14% of those boilers as well. The number of birds infected with difficult to kill super-germs is up more than 30% in comparison to 2007. In fact, in 2012, feather testing found antidepressants, caffeine, and allergy med residues, and those are just a fraction of the strange, but true, facts about your local grocery store chicken.
At the Supermarket: Look for organic birds; Typically, these birds are raised in less-crowded conditions, which makes it harder to pass along germs. Better yet, look for a local farmer who raises pastured broilers in smaller numbers.
At Home: Bypass rinsing your raw bird in the sink. Instead, put the bird directly into a baking dish or pan. Cook breasts and other cuts until the internal temperatures read 180 degrees Fahrenheit. For the whole bird, check the temperature in the thickest part of the thighs.
2. Ground Beef
The Dirt: When the USDA (U.S Department of Agriculture) inspectors last tested hamburger meat, they looked at 563 sources nationwide. In their testing, they discovered Clostridium perfringens in 53% of the batches. Additionally, they found Staphylococcus in 30%, and Listera monocyte genes in 12%.
At the Supermarket: Choose grass-fed beef. One study looking at Salmonella contamination found it present in just 4.5% of samples taken from grass-fed animals. This is compared to 9% found in feedlot cattle. Cows were not designed to eat grain or corn. Also, soy increases the acidity in their stomachs and the levels of bacteria along with it.
At home: Add fresh oregano to your burgers and meatloaf. When researchers at Kansas State University mixed a variety of common household spices into ground beef to test their antibacterial properties, oregano tested as one of the best spices at wiping out bacteria. We suggest using at least 1 tablespoon per pound of meat. Just as important, flatten your patties, thick burgers will char on the outside before the inter reaches the required safe temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit.