Terri Trespicio offers advice for avoiding unsafe fruits and vegetables.
It must be Murphy's Law, or some relative of it: Just when you get your grocery cart rolling in the right direction, the Center for Science in the Public Interest in Washington, D.C., comes out with a report that shows some of the healthiest foods in the store are the very ones most likely to trigger food poisoning.
Sizing up 16 years of data, the report found that leafy greens, eggs, tuna, oysters, potatoes, cheese, sprouts, and berries, along with ice cream, accounted for nearly 40 percent of all outbreaks (think E. coli and salmonella) linked to FDA-regulated goods.
So how do you protect yourself, beyond thoroughly washing your hands and rinsing produce? (Yes, you should rinse produce even if it's pre-rinsed and bagged.)
Dean Cliver, Ph.D., food-safety specialist at the University of California, Davis, and Ruth Frechman, R.D., a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, urge you to...
+ Grab refrigerated and frozen items last when shopping.
+ Choose Grade A or AA eggs that are clean and free of cracks.
+ Store produce in a clean refrigerator at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. Keep eggs in the main compartment -- not the door (where warm air hits first).
+ Do not eat raw sprouts.
+ Use a separate cutting board for raw meat, poultry, and seafood.