Your five-a-day recommended portion of fruits and vegetables accounts for nearly half of the food poisonings in the United States.
Every year one in six people in the US fall ill with food poisoning – about nine million people.
Some foods commonly associated with food-borne illnesses include raw or undercooked meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs; unpasteurized milk and soft cheeses; and fruit and vegetable juices.
People often associate food poisoning with red meat and poultry. They are commonly contaminated with the sickness-inducing bacteria E.coli, Salmonella, and Listeria. But according to reports, meat and poultry only accounts for 22 percent of food poisonings.
Fruits and vegetables are responsible for 46 percent of all food poisoning cases in the US, according to a report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Vegetation like spinach and lettuce, are the most common cause of food poisoning. Mishandled salad greens, as they are served raw, are notorious culprits for conditions like bacterial gastroenteritis.
Gastroenteritis is a medical condition characterized by inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract; the stomach and small intestine. Sufferers endure a combination of diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain and cramping.
Transmission may occur due to consumption of improperly prepared foods or contaminated water. If food becomes contaminated with bacteria and remains at room temperature for a period of several hours, the bacteria multiply and increase the risk of infection in those who consume it.
As fruits and vegetables are served uncooked, bacteria isn’t killed. In extreme cases, contaminated bagged salad can cause fatal kidney failure.
According to the Modern Farmer, during harvest, workers core lettuce in the field, often with a knife soiled by pathogen-laden dirt and feces. Additionally, a failure of food service providers to properly wash their hands when handling food, especially following a bathroom visit, contributes to food poisoning.
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