The Foods Most Likely to Make You Sick

Foodborne diseases are estimated to cause approximately 9.4 million illnesses each year in the U.S., and salmonella is one of the big culprits.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed 5,760 foodborne-disease outbreaks from 2009-2015, outbreaks that resulted in 145 deaths and 5,699 hospitalizations.

Among 1,281 outbreaks in which the food reported could be classified into a single food category, fish were the most commonly implicated category (222 outbreaks --17%), followed by dairy (11%) and chicken (10%).

Where location could be identified, most food-borne illnesses were attributed to restaurants (33,465 illnesses-- 43%,) followed by catering facilities (24%) and private homes (10%).

According to the CDC's report, these are the foods most commonly associated with illnesses and outbreaks. Keep reading through the list for some facts about salmonella and tips to stay safe.

Chicken
Chicken

Chicken

  • Illnesses: 3,114
  • Outbreaks: 123

Photo: Shutterstock

Pork
Pork

Pork

  • Illnesses: 2,670
  • Outbreaks: 89

Photo: Shutterstock

Seeded Vegetables
Seeded Vegetables

Seeded Vegetables

  • Illnesses: 2,572
  • Outbreaks: 44

Salmonella can be found in many foods besides meat and eggs, such as seeded vegetables like cucumbers. It can also be found in fruit and even processed foods, such as nut butters, frozen pot pies, chicken nuggets, and stuffed chicken entrees, the CDC says.

Photo: Shutterstock

Eggs
Eggs

Eggs

  • Illnesses: 2,470
  • Outbreaks: 36

The CDC recommends keeping eggs in the original carton and storing them in the main part of the refrigerator, not in the door.

Photo: Shutterstock

Fruits
Fruits

Fruits

  • Illnesses: 2,420
  • Outbreaks: 78

Photo: Shutterstock

Vegetable Row Crops (Leafy and Stem Vegetables)
Vegetable Row Crops (Leafy and Stem Vegetables)

Vegetable Row Crops (Leafy and Stem Vegetables)

  • Illnesses: 1,972
  • Outbreaks: 81

The leafy vegetables accounted for 77 of the outbreaks, stem vegetables for four.

Photo: Shutterstock

Beef
Beef

Beef

  • Illnesses: 1,934
  • Outbreaks: 106

Photo: Shutterstock

Turkey
Turkey

Turkey

  • Illnesses: 1,675
  • Outbreaks: 50

Photo: Shutterstock

Dairy
Dairy

Dairy

  • Illnesses: 1,639
  • Outbreaks: 136

Unpasteurized dairy products accounted for 109 of the outbreaks.

Photo: Shutterstock

Fish
Fish

Fish

  • Illnesses: 1,353
  • Outbreaks: 222

While fish accounted for more outbreaks than chicken, chicken accounted for more illnesses.

Photo: Shutterstock

Mollusks
Mollusks

Mollusks

  • Illnesses: 846
  • Outbreaks: 105

Photo: Shutterstock

Grains and Beans
Grains and Beans

Grains and Beans

  • Illnesses: 838
  • Outbreaks: 52

Photo: Shutterstock

Sprouts
Sprouts

Sprouts

  • Illnesses: 766
  • Outbreaks: 21

Photo: Shutterstock

Herbs
Herbs

Herbs

  • Illnesses: 476
  • Outbreaks: 7

Photo: Shutterstock

Root and Other Underground Vegetables
Root and Other Underground Vegetables

Root and Other Underground Vegetables

  • Illnesses: 383
  • Outbreaks: 20

Tubers, such as potatoes, accounted for 12 outbreaks, roots 5, and bulbs 3 outbreaks.

Photo: Shutterstock

Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and Seeds

  • Illnesses: 245
  • Outbreaks: 11

Photo: Shutterstock

Game
Game

Game

  • Illnesses: 86
  • Outbreaks: 13

Photo: Shutterstock

Crustaceans
Crustaceans

Crustaceans

  • Illnesses: 74
  • Outbreaks: 12

Photo: Shutterstock

Other Poultry
Other Poultry

Other Poultry

  • Illnesses: 71
  • Outbreaks: 6

Photo: Shutterstock

Fungi
Fungi

Fungi

  • Illnesses: 56
  • Outbreaks: 16

Photo: Shutterstock

Other Meat (Sheep or Goat)
Other Meat (Sheep or Goat)

Other Meat (Sheep or Goat)

  • Illnesses: 50
  • Outbreaks: 6

Photo: Shutterstock

Oils and Sugars
Oils and Sugars

Oils and Sugars

  • Illnesses: 18
  • Outbreaks: 4

Photo: Shutterstock

Other Aquatic Animals
Other Aquatic Animals

Other Aquatic Animals

  • Illnesses: 15
  • Outbreaks: 5

Photo: Shutterstock

Other Foods
Other Foods

Other Foods

  • Illnesses: 807
  • Outbreaks: 38

Photo: Shutterstock

Steps to Take to Avoid Food Poisoning
Steps to Take to Avoid Food Poisoning

Steps to Take to Avoid Food Poisoning:

The CDC recommends these guidelines to help keep people safe from food poisoning.

Clean:

  • Wash hands with warm, soapy water for 20 seconds before and after handling uncooked eggs, raw meat, poultry, and seafood and their juices.
  • Wash utensils, cutting boards, dishes, and countertops with hot, soapy water after preparing each food item and before you go on to prepare the next item.
  • Don't wash raw poultry, meat, and eggs before cooking. Germs can spread to other foods, utensils, and surfaces.
  • Sanitize food contact surfaces with a freshly made solution of one tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach in one gallon of water.

Photo: Shutterstock

 

Separate
Separate

Separate:

  • Keep raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs separate from other foods in your grocery cart and in your refrigerator. 
  • Keep raw meat, poultry, and seafood separate from ready-to-eat foods, such as salads and deli meat.
  • Use separate cutting boards and plates for produce and for raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs.
  • Never place cooked food on a plate that previously held raw meat, poultry, seafood, or eggs.

Photo: Shutterstock

Cook
Cook

Cook:

Use a food thermometer to ensure that foods are cooked to a safe internal temperature:
  • 145°F for beef, veal, lamb, fish, pork and ham
  • 160°F for ground beef, ground pork, ground veal, ground lamb and egg dishes
  • 165°F for casseroles and for poultry, including ground chicken and ground turkey
  • Microwave food to 165°F or above.

    Photo: Shutterstock

Chill
Chill

Chill

  • Keep your refrigerator at 40°F or colder.
  • Refrigerate or freeze perishables, prepared foods, and leftovers within 2 hours (or 1 hour if the temperature is 90°F or hotter).
Photo: Shutterstock

Facts About Salmonella
Facts About Salmonella

Facts About Salmonella

Salmonella illness is more common in the summer. Warmer weather and unrefrigerated foods create ideal conditions for Salmonella to grow. The CDC recommends refrigerating or freezing perishables (foods likely to spoil or go bad quickly), prepared foods, and leftovers within 2 hours. Chill them within 1 hour if the temperature is 90°F or hotter.

Photo: Shutterstock

Some People are More Vulnerable to Salmonella
Some People are More Vulnerable to Salmonella

Some People are More Vulnerable to Salmonella:

Salmonella illness can be serious and is more dangerous for certain people, such as older adults, children younger than 5, and people with immune systems weakened from medical conditions, such as diabetes, liver or kidney disease, and cancer or their treatment.

For every one case of Salmonella illness confirmed by laboratory tests, there are about 30 more cases of Salmonella illnesses that are not reported, the CDC says.

Photo: Shutterstock

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