We’ve all heard the scary stories about contaminated food. Sometimes it seems like you can’t eat ANYTHING without fear of getting sick.
But is food really that scary?
Sometimes … and sometimes not.
I looked into some of the most common food fears to give you a reality check on what you need to worry about.
The worry: You’ve no doubt heard about recalls of bagged salad greens, usually because of contamination from listeria bacteria. It certainly makes you want to turn on the tap and reach for your salad spinner to try to wash off all those nasty germs.
However, that may do more harm than good. Let’s face it, we’re not very good about cleaning up after ourselves. And even the best-kept kitchens are likely harboring a party of pathogens, particularly around the sink area.
So in “washing” the already washed produce, you may be introducing bacteria into the leaves through your fingers, countertops, cutting board and sink.
In fact, an article in the journal Food Production Trends says that leafy greens in sealed bags with the “pre-washed” label from a properly inspected facility do not need to be re-washed—unless the label directs otherwise.
The verdict: Wasted worry!
Raw or lightly cooked eggs
The worry: They can cause salmonella.
Every year, salmonella is estimated to cause about 1.2 million illnesses in the United States, with about 23,000 hospitalizations and 450 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Raw and undercooked eggs are among the likely sources of salmonella bacteria.
One egg-related salmonella outbreak made 1,900 people sick over the course of 7 months. It resulted in a nationwide voluntary recall of shell eggs.
And while body builders and Rocky enthusiasts would like you to believe differently, research has yet to confirm any nutritional benefit to eating your eggs raw.
On the other hand, cooked eggs are one of the best food sources of biotin. Biotin is vital for many metabolic functions. It helps regulate cellular health. Biotin helps nourish your skin, hair and nails, and it even helps promote optimal glucose metabolism.
Cooking an egg separates the biotin from another protein (avidin), so it can be absorbed by your body.
If you occasionally want to use raw eggs for a recipe, use a pasteurized egg product. They must be rapidly heated and held at a minimum required temperature for a specific time. This destroys salmonella, but doesn’t cook the eggs or affect their color, flavor, nutritional value or use.That means they should be safe to eat even when not fully cooked.
The verdict: Warranted worry!
The worry: It can be contaminated.
You know how important omega-3 fatty acids are. An optimal intake of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids helps support your memory and focus, promotes heart health, and even helps with your weight-loss efforts.
Unfortunately, farm-raised fish can be loaded with toxins. Vaccines, antibiotics and other veterinary drugs commonly are used to prevent and treat diseases, including those caused by parasites or bacteria.
However, drug residues that remain in seafood products can have adverse effects on human health and the environment. Of particular concern is the excessive use of antibiotics, which can lead to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in people who eat seafood.
What’s more, only 2% of all seafood imported into the U.S. is tested for contamination. When testing does occur, residues of drugs used in fish farming have been reported. Above certain concentrations, these residues can be harmful to humans.
While wild fish are likely to be better, keep in mind that the waters they swim in often contain toxic chemicals.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, some fish caught in the nation’s lakes, rivers, oceans and estuaries may contain chemicals that could pose health risks.
And get this: You don’t need to eat a lot of fish to consume potentially harmful amounts of mercury and other environmental contaminants. In fact, for at-risk groups such as pregnant women, nursing mothers and young children, eating more than 2 servings per week can be harmful.
The verdict: Warranted worry!
I mentioned toxic fish above. But as I also mentioned, we all know how important it is to get enough omega-3 fatty acids.
So, if I may be so bold …
This is where RealDose Super Critical Omega-3 TG comes in.
We use a new, cutting-edge, eco-friendly process called “super critical concentration” that allows us to produce a product that is not only highly purified, but that also delivers a concentrated amount of EPA & DHA fish oil.
Our fish oil provides you with 2.4 grams of omega-3s per day in the superior triglyceride (TG) form.
This offers you the best chance to experience the full range of benefits, all supported by human research studies.
Any food fears you’re worried about? Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll check them out for you.
Steve Sisskind, M.D.
Hi, I'm Dr. Steve Sisskind, Chief Medical Officer & Founder at RealDose Nutrition.
As a young physician, I struggled because my patients came to me with serious health issues, but I didn't have the right tools to help them. Medical school taught me how to put "band aids" on their symptoms with drugs and surgery, but not how to address the root causes of their problems.
Years later I discovered a better approach... based on the fundamental idea that the power of nutrition can transform your health and vitality. But there's a lot of confusion... What foods should I eat? Which supplements should I take? What does the science say?
I have dedicated my life to answering these questions... And I share this knowledge with you every day here at RealDose Nutrition.
I invite you to connect with me by joining my free private community. I've helped thousands of people and I know I can help you too!
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1. Palumbo MS, Gorny JR, Gombas DE. Recommendations for handling fresh-cut leafy green salads by consumers and retail foodservice operators. Food Prot Trends. 2013;27(11): 892-898.
2. Love DC, Rodman S, Neff RA, Nachman KE. Veterinary drug residues in seafood inspected by the European Union, United States, Canada, and Japan from 2000 to 2009. Environ Sci Technol. 2011;45(17):7232-7240. PMID: 21797221.