food

A food safety expert shares the 7 foods he won't eat.

Image: iStock

There’s a man named Bill Marler who is out to ruin my entire life eating habits. The reason? He has some advice my usually selectively ignorant ears and I can’t look past.

You see, Marler has over 20 years’ experience as a lawyer working on food poisoning-related cases, so he knows a lot about the topic. Now, in the latest issue of the Food Poison Journal, the attorney has shared the foods he wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot stick.

Like the dear friend who just has our best interests at heart but dishes out the words we can’t bring ourselves to believe, Marler is here to deliver some harsh truths about the dishes we all love. Prepare to cut your menu in half.

1. All types of raw sprouts.

Yep, that crunchy alfalfa in your sandwich is most definitely off Marler’s menu.

He says all types of sprouts, including mung beans, radish sprouts and bean sprouts, can have bacterial infections in their seeds — and if eaten raw, can spread infection. Marler points out raw sprouts have been linked to salmonella and E. coli outbreaks, and as recently as 2014, bean sprouts sent 19 people to the hospital with salmonella poisoning.

“There have been too many outbreaks to not pay attention to the risk of sprout contamination,” he explains.

Watch: The good news? Quinoa isn’t on Marler’s list. Here’s a delicious way to prepare it, as demonstrated by Paper Tiger. (Post continues after video.)

2. Under-cooked meat.

My boyfriend thinks he is really funny when the waiter asks how he would like his meat cooked, and he says, ‘just walk it through the kitchen’ (dad joke, much?). But now I’ll be the one laughing, because according to Marler eating under-cooked meat is like hosting a bacteria party in your stomach. And that is not a party I want to be invited to, thank you sir.

In the process of tenderising meat, bacteria can become trapped in the middle of it. “The reason ground products are more problematic and need to be cooked more thoroughly is that any bacteria that’s on the surface of the meat can be ground inside of it,” Marler writes.

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“If it’s not cooked thoroughly to 160 degrees F [71 degrees Celsius] throughout, it can cause poisoning by E. coli and salmonella and other bacterial illnesses.” (Post continues after gallery.)

3. Pre-washed and pre-cut fruit and veggies.

You know those conveniently packaged pre-washed and pre-cut veggies? This expert won’t touch ’em — in fact, he “avoids these like the plague.”

Here’s why: the more a food has been handled during processing, the more likely that it is likely to be tainted. While Marler agrees convenience is great, he won’t risk touching any produce that has been washed or cut before buying.

Oh, and he also recommends that people consume all produce within three to four days to reduce the risk for listeria, a deadly bug that grows at refrigerator temperatures.

Say it isn't so.... (Image via iStock.)

4. Uncooked egg.

You know those delicious eggs you love a little runny? Yep — on the list.

After observing several salmonella outbreaks from eggs, Marler has sworn off even the slightly undercooked ones. “I think the risk of egg contamination is much lower today than it was 20 years ago for salmonella, but I still eat my eggs well-cooked,” he explains.

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5. Raw shellfish (yep, this includes oysters...)

Sob. Marler, why? WHY?!

"[Because, Lizzie, you oyster-loving fiend] oysters are filter feeders, so they pick up everything that’s in the water...If there’s bacteria in the water it’ll get into their system, and if you eat it you could have trouble. I’ve seen a lot more of that over the last five years than I saw in the last 20 years. It’s simply not worth the risk,” he explains.

In a grotesque hypothesis,  Marler thinks this may be down to warming waters, which facilitate more microbial growth.

(I might definitely still take the risk. Just saying.)

You're breaking my heart right now, Marler. (Image via iStock.)

6. Unpasteurised milk.

You probably want to rethink drinking unpasteurised milk, too.

Marler explains that unpasteurised milk, or raw milk, has been linked to so many food poisoning outbreaks in recent years because it can be contaminated with bacteria, viruses and parasites. Due to this, he doesn't drink it. Ever.

7. Unpasteurised juice.

Same goes for unpasteurised juice. One of Marler's earlier lawsuits linked an E. coli outbreak to unpasteurised apple juice. “There’s no benefit big enough to take away the risk of drinking products that can be made safe by pasteurisation,” he says.

So there you have it.

Have you ever experienced food poisoning?

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