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Five foods you should not be eaten raw

19 July 2009 1,031 views No Comment

Consumer safety articles, such as mine, often report how something seemingly innocuous will actually kill you, or at the very least, leave you maimed and crippled.  In deference to this great modern media tradition, here’s my hysteria-inducing list:

 

1. Cookie dough (and anything else containing raw eggs): In addition to the risk of E. coli discussed in the article, eating egg-containing dough prior to baking it puts you at risk for Salmonella.

 

2. Fish: Sushi, sashimi, and ceviche can carry multiple parasites.  My favorite is Diphyllobothrium latum, an intestinal tapeworm transmitted by freshwater fish such as salmon, which can grow 30 feet long and live 20 years.

 

3. Sprouts:  Alfalfa, bean, and other sprouts carry Salmonella, E. coli, and Bacillus bacteria due to the warm, humid environments in which they’re grown.  Washing the surface of the sprouts does not eliminate the chance of illness, as the bacteria can live internally.  Raw sprouts are not recommended for children, the elderly, or people with weakened immune systems.

 

4. Beef and pork: Avoiding raw meat is a no-brainer, until you see it on the menu with an appetizing name like tartare or carpaccio.  There’s a long list of diseases you could get from raw meat, so I’ll mention only one: neurocysticercosis, a parasite from undercooked pork that crawls from your intestine up to your brain, where it can live for years and cause seizures.

 

…and finally, no “Everybody Panic!” list is complete without at least one way you might inadvertently kill your child:

 

5. Honey: Honey contains bacterial spores that cause botulism, a disease that’s usually fatal if untreated.  While adults and children have high stomach acid levels that kill the spores in honey, infants do not.  Children less than a year old should not eat honey.

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