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Rod Brouhard, EMT  P

What Causes the Most Food Poisoning? You Might Be Surprised

By January 29, 2013

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Pop quiz: What food is responsible for the most foodborne illnesses?

If you're like me, you probably answered something in the animal rather than vegetable category. We all know that poultry, pork and eggs are deadly in the wrong hands, correct?

True. Contaminated poultry is the biggest killer, but more people get sick from veggies than animal products.

The CDC conducted a 10 year review of food poisoning, looking for sources. Leafy greens took top billing as the biggest culprit of overall illnesses. Poultry was responsible for the most deaths. Oddly enough -- to me anyway -- beef, pork and eggs were pretty safe.

What's the safest food of all, you ask? Drum roll, please...

'Shrooms caused the fewest illnesses. For something grown in the dark and fed lots of, um, natural fertilizer, I thought for sure they'd be higher on the naughty list. Maybe the reason mushrooms caused the fewest illnesses was because not everybody eats them. I can tell you they're quite tasty and definitely find their way into my dishes. I guess that mushroom really is a fungi after all. (Read it out loud -- it's funny)

So, what did we learn from all this? It's simple, don't eat vegetables.

Not really; I'm KIDDING!!

Actually the lesson is: don't eat vegetables that haven't been washed yet. And, for all you carnivores reading this on your smart phones at happy hour and giving the vegan on the barstool next to you a whole bunch of I-told-you-so's, the most likely bug on that leafy green comes from the intestines of animals.

How that nasty little bug gets from the intestines of animals to the surface of leafy greens is precisely why you need to wash your vegetables.

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