10 Foods That Commonly Cause Food Poisoning & 10 Ways To Prevent It

10 Foods That Commonly Cause Food Poisoning & 10 Ways To Prevent It

Food poisoning always seems to come out of nowhere, but in reality, there are certain signs that you might be missing. In this article, you'll find 10 foods that are common culprits, but also 10 things you can do to prevent it or at least reduce the risk.

1. Raw Fish

Sadly, your favourite food, sushi, might be the cause of your most recent food poisoning. Although sashimi is a beloved menu item, raw fish can contain parasites and bacteria if not handled and stored properly. It's absolutely vital that the fish is completely frozen before serving so that it kills the parasites, but the handling and preparation stage is just as important. This isn't the type of food to treat carelessly!

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2. Raw Eggs

As you probably already know, eating raw or undercooked eggs can lead to Salmonella, which is a big fear many people have. Eggs can be contaminated if the shell itself is cracked or dirty, which means you should be taking extra care to cook the eggs properly so that it kills off any bacteria.

Olga-Petnyunene-Tcxpaixu Qe-UnsplashPhoto by Olga Petnyunene on Unsplash

3. Pre-Packaged Salads

Although pre-packaged salads are a great option for busy, on-the-go people, you still have to approach it with caution. If it contains leafy greens, there's a possibility that the ingredients weren't handled properly and could be contaminated. And you won't be happy to hear that those types of bacteria can survive even refrigerated conditions.

Fast-Food-74324 640Image by Lebensmittelfotos from Pixabay

4. Undercooked Ground Beef

As with many others on this list, eating food that hasn't been cooked through thoroughly can be very dangerous. As is such with ground beef. Eating undercooked ground beef can lead to serious stomach issues, so it's best that you always cook it until it's fully done. This isn't a steak - you shouldn't be eating this "rare" or "medium."

Beef-1846030 1280 (1)Image by Pexels from Pixabay


5. Shellfish

When we talk about shellfish, there's one big culprit of food poisoning that we definitely want to point out. If your mind jumped to raw oysters, you are correct! As you're probably understanding now, eating anything raw comes with a certain risk. If you want to decrease those chances by a lot, you definitely should just consider eating fully cooked seafood.

Oysters-4913526 1280Image by adamlot from Pixabay

6. Raw Fruits and Vegetables

While fruits and vegetables are definitely good for you, it doesn't mean you should be lazy about the preparation and handling stage when cooking them. It's absolutely crucial that you wash your fruits and veggies very carefully and thoroughly. Sometimes, the bacteria and harmful pathogens come from the soil and water it was grown in! Make sure you do your best to wash all that away.

Nadine-Primeau--Ftwfohtjnw-UnsplashPhoto by Nadine Primeau on Unsplash

7. Undercooked Eggs in Dressings

Whether you're making a homemade salad dressing, a tasty hollandaise sauce for your eggs benedict, or making mayo by hand, always be careful when working with undercooked eggs. If you're not careful during the process, it may be contaminated with Salmonella and you are simply spreading it. 

Jessica-Lewis-Thepaintedsquare-Fvbzzpp58Dy-UnsplashPhoto by Jessica Lewis 🦋 thepaintedsquare on Unsplash

8. Cooked Rice

Eaten by many cultures around the world, cooked rice is a surprising culprit of food poisoning that many people don't realize. When rice is left at room temperature for too long and if it isn't stored properly, a harmful bacteria might start to grow. That's why refrigeration is so important when it comes to rice, and when eating, make sure that it is fully reheated before consuming.

Mgg-Vitchakorn-Zxnc Lbbvge-UnsplashPhoto by Mgg Vitchakorn on Unsplash

9. Raw Poultry

We all know the dangerous of eating raw poultry, specifically chicken. When it comes to this meat, cooking it till it is fully cooked is of utmost importance. Learn what the correct temperature a properly cooked chicken is, and make sure you follow those guidelines every time you cook it; this is how to ensure you're killing those dangerous bacterias and pathogens.

Eiliv-Aceron-Dnqlbdgdld0-UnsplashPhoto by Eiliv Aceron on Unsplash

10. Unwashed Leafy Greens

You've seen how dirty leafy greens like spinach and kale can be - there's no way eating all that dirt can be good for you! And with these vegetables, the dangers of food poisoning comes from not washing them properly. If the soil was contaminated, you have to make sure you both wash and handle them properly before cooking them fully through to prevent any foodborne illnesses.

Rens-D-Ljv6Vwafwdq-UnsplashPhoto by Rens D on Unsplash


1. Wash Hands Thoroughly

You learned at a young age to always wash your hands for at least 20 seconds before eating or cooking and here's why! There are tons of germs all around us, and as we touch and interact with things throughout the day, you have no idea what's on your hands. Making sure that you carefully wash your hands is step one in reducing your risk of all those harmful bacteria entering your body.

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2. Clean Surfaces and Utensils

If your cutting board, knife, or utensils come in contact with any of the previously listed foods, it's important that they be thoroughly cleaned before being used again. Make sure you use hot, soapy water that can kill any germs or bacteria already forming.

Tina-Dawson-8Hwo-W-5Vfu-UnsplashPhoto by Tina Dawson on Unsplash

3. Cook Foods to Proper Temperatures

If you want to be really safe and ensure that your food is being thoroughly cooked, there's no harm in using a food thermometer. This is usually used for difficult foods like meats, where it's hard to tell how the inside looks.

Clem-Onojeghuo-R8Ldttswguc-Unsplash (1)Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

4. Store Foods at Safe Temperatures

Learn the best way to store your foods so that bacteria doesn't start forming. Make sure your refrigerator is set to the right temperature, make sure your food is stored well, and make sure they haven't been left out for too long.

Ello-Aeu9Uzstcfs-UnsplashPhoto by Ello on Unsplash

5. Avoid Cross-Contamination

As mentioned, the reason why it's so important that you use separate cutting boards or wash them thoroughly first before a second use is so that you can avoid cross-contamination. This is especially important when dealing with raw meat or pre-packaged foods that are already ready to eat. You definitely don't want the raw chicken juices dripping into your ready-to-eat sandwich!

Katie-Smith-Uqs1802D0Cq-UnsplashPhoto by Katie Smith on Unsplash

6. Wash Fruits and Vegetables

The biggest takeaway from all of this? Wash your fruits and vegetables carefully before even cutting, eating, or cooking them! That should always be step one. And with certain foods that have peels or shells, you should still be washing them! It never hurts to be careful, and you never want the germs to transfer somewhere else without you knowing.

Manki-Kim-Ci5Kb6Xf-Ei-UnsplashPhoto by Manki Kim on Unsplash


7. Avoid Raw or Undercooked Eggs

We said multiple times already the dangers of working with or eating raw/undercooked eggs, so you know what, one easy way to reduce your risk of food poisoning is to just not deal with them at all! If you really need to use them for a recipe, make sure you use pasteurized eggs. And if you're just eating them, make sure that they are absolutely cooked fully before consuming. That yolk and egg white should be firm!

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8. Be Cautious with Leftovers

Leftovers are great! It means you don't have to cook or worry about scrambling to put a meal together. One important thing to note with leftovers is that you should always make sure to put them in the fridge within two hours of it sitting out, or else, it's got to go. On the flip side, remember that when you're pulling it out to eat, the reheating process is very important. Make sure it's fully heated through before consuming.

Matthew-Moloney--9Snpi5-X8E-UnsplashPhoto by Matthew Moloney on Unsplash

9. Check Expiration Dates

Expiration dates are there for a reason! Always check the label or packaging to ensure that you're eating something that is still edible and in good condition. It's especially important for perishable items like dairy or meat when the expiration date matters the most. Can you imagine drinking milk that's gone bad? Bleh!

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10. Be Careful with Food from Unreliable Sources

While there's always going to be some uncertainty about the foods you pick up at the grocery store, it's a different story if you're buying food from outdoor vendors or street markets. If you're feeling at all a bit skeptical about the hygiene, it's a better idea to skip it and head to more reputable vendors that prioritize health and safety concerns.

Jason-Briscoe-Ktrov7Eujms-Unsplash (1)Photo by Jason Briscoe on Unsplash