Whether it’s a hangover from student days, or simply an innate thriftiness, many of us have a liberal attitude towards food sell-by dates and hygiene .
If it smells OK, it should be OK to eat?
Because most of us know when it’s genuinely unwise to eat something right?
That pink barbecue sausage, that funky-smelling egg, that grey meat etc. We can rely on our bodies and common sense to tell the difference between the bad stuff and the good stuff.
But one man in particular has made a distinction between dangerous ‘food poisoning’ foods, and items which he deems safe to eat – and some of them may come as a surprise.
Why should we be listening to him?
Attorney Bill Marler has spent 20 years working on food poisoning lawsuits, and this experience has lead him to swear off certain items and dishes.
As the Independent reports, Bill is “litigating suits against Chipotle after the chain’s E. coli and norovirus outbreaks” and has won in excess of $600 million in damages for foodborne illness cases.
1. Raw oysters
High and zinc and a supposed aphrodisiac, there is a dark side to oysters – hence they’re top of Marler’s list.
He says he has “seen more foodborne illnesses linked to shellfish in the past five years than in the two preceding decade.” And it’s down to global warming, rather than any bad food hygiene practices.
“As globally waters heat up, it produces microbial growth, which ends up in the raw oysters consumers are slurping down.”
2. Prepackaged (cut and washed) fruit and vegetables
Strong words from Marler on these, who says he avoids buying these “like the plague”.
The reason? The long production line and risk of contamination owing to how much the washed, prepped and packaged items are handled.
3. Raw sprouts
Sprouts have plenty of detractors, and Marler is one of them.
There have been more than 30 bacterial outbreaks of salmonella and E. coli over the last 20 years, and these have informed Marler’s decision to not eat them.
“There have been too many outbreaks to not pay attention to the risk of sprout contamination.”
4. Undercooked meat
Ordering a well-done steak may be sacrilege in some parts of the world, but Marler remains adamant it’s bad news to do otherwise.
He advises that meat needs to be cooked to 160 degrees throughout in order to kill the bacteria which causes E. coli or salmonella.
5. Raw eggs
These probably come as no surprise to anyone. But even though the odds of getting food poisoning from uncooked eggs is a lot lower than it was two decades ago, David still suggests avoiding them.
6. Unpasteurised milk and juices
While there is an argument suggesting pasteurisation depletes milk and juices of its natural, nutritious value, Marler advises that “skipping this safety step means an increased risk of contamination by bacteria, viruses, and parasites.”