According to USA Today, there are 48 million new cases of foodborne illnesses every year in the United States. What’s going on? Why are there so many cases of food poisoning each year? One cause is that people believe ‘myths’ about food poisoning that in reality hold no value.
Did your mother tell you, ‘Cook the chicken until the juices run clear?” My mom did, and I know that she truly believed that if the juices ran clear, the chicken was done and safe to eat. This is a myth. Color is not a way of safely gauging if chicken or any meat is truly done. According to the CDC, a thermometer is the only way to ensure that meat is thoroughly cooked. Many preservatives and cooking methods can cause meat to look pink when it’s well done. Chicken must reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees to be safe for consumption.
Have you ever heard someone selling organic produce say, “It’s safer to eat than what you buy at the grocery store?” This isn’t always true. There may be less pesticides or none, but how was it grown, prepared, and packaged? I’ll use myself as an example. If I grow my own lettuce in my garden and an animal comes along and uses the bathroom on it, if I don’t thoroughly wash it, am I going to get sick? Yes. If I take my lettuce to the farmers market and I prepared it on my kitchen counter, where I cut up chicken and didn’t properly wash the countertop; can I cause everyone who buys it to get salmonella? Absolutely! The second myth is that organic produce is “absolutely” safer than something you would buy in a supermarket.
Did you know that some bacteria can survive even subzero temperatures? Another commonly believed myth is that freezing your food will kill harmful bacteria. Let’s think about that. If that were the case, how did the bacteria make it through the Ice Age? How do organisms survive in Antarctica under mountains of ice? According to USA Today, “At least 162 people developed hepatitis A last year (2013) after eating frozen pomegranate seeds, often used in smoothies, from Townsend Farms of Oregon.”
Sushi is safe to eat, the restaurant wouldn’t serve anything contaminated. I urge all of my friends to forget the sushi. People believe that because something is sold at a restaurant or in the grocery store, it’s safe. That is a complete myth. According to NBC, 80 percent of seafood eaten in the United States is imported. Many countries don’t have the standards that the United States does when it comes to production (I, personally don’t believe our standards in the U.S. are up to par either). Only about 2 percent of the seafood entering the U.S. is even tested. Imported seafood can be riddled with rodent hair, feces, salmonella, dirt, insect fragments, parasites, and the list goes on. Read the article here.
Some people truly believe that giving up meat can save them from food poisoning. This is a complete myth. In fact, according to the CDC, about half of food poisoning cases each year come from produce (that’s more than any other type of food). One reason for this is that produce is often served raw and can be contaminated in so many different ways.
Well, now that you’re completely freaked out about eating anything, you may be wondering how you can protect yourself? Learn about safe food handling practices, avoid food bars, don’t eat precut fruits, and know where your food comes from for starters. Only you can control what goes into your body. Take control.