Cooked rice


One of humankind’s oldest foodstuffs and still a staple for many, rice nonetheless has the potential to make people sick. The key to avoiding this is not to leave cooked rice standing about at room temperature. Eat it when it’s freshly-cooked and hot or, alternatively, refrigerate it to a safe temperature as soon as possible.


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Eat raw or undercooked chicken, turkey, duck or other poultry and you may come to regret it. That’s because certain types of unpleasant bacteria thrive in poultry flesh and feathers. To avoid the risk of accidentally ingesting any of these bacteria, always ensure your poultry is completely cooked through. Take equal care with washing chopping boards and utensils used during the food preparation process.


Unpasteurized dairy

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It may be very tempting, but unpasteurized dairy has the potential to be anything but refreshing or satisfying. Although not every bite of unpasteurized cheese or glass of unpasteurized milk will carry harmful bacteria, it’s safest to stick to pasteurized versions. This is especially true for particularly vulnerable people, such as young children.


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Although it’s definitely one of the healthiest and most nutritious things to eat, consuming fish that’s been incorrectly stored can be problematic. Refrigerating it at the correct temperature helps keep it stable. In turn, this significantly reduces the risk that bacteria naturally present in the fish will end up producing histamine, which is not destroyed by cooking and may make someone unwell.


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When it comes to shellfish, vigilance is important. While it’s probably common knowledge to discard shellfish that don’t open during the cooking process, it’s just as crucial to ensure they come from a safe source. This means that they weren’t fished from water contaminated with run-off from, for example, a septic tank. Buying shellfish from a store is a sensible way to reduce any risk.

Leafy greens

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Yes, perhaps you grew up with Popeye encouraging you to eat your greens – and rightly so. However, unwashed greens like kale, spinach and lettuce can be an unappealing reservoir for all kinds of bacteria that have no place on your plate. Luckily, washing leafy greens and other vegetables before cooking or serving is generally all that’s required.


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Almost everyone knows that eggs potentially have more than just yolk and albumen (egg white) inside their shells. Cooking eggs well ensures that any unwelcome extras are destroyed before they’re eaten. Avoiding eggs with dirty or cracked shells is an additional safeguard, as is choosing pastueurized products for any recipe requiring lightly-cooked or raw eggs.


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It may be refreshingly juicy but fruit has the potential to cause sickness. Ground-grown fruit, especially melons, are a prime candidate – as are berries such as raspberries and blueberries! Refrigerating and then washing the fruit well before eating are both sensible precautions. What’s more, the washing should extend to the skin of melons.

Raw sprouts

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Growing these little guys is a popular activity for many elementary schoolchildren but even if your alfalfa or mung beans are store-bought, you need to be aware that eating them can be risky. This is because the moist, warm environment that encourages the sprouts to grow is just as welcoming to various unpleasant bacteria. Cooking the sprouts will help kill these bacteria.

Deli meats

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Although all meat can make you sick if it’s stored or cooked incorrectly, the risk is usually a little higher with deli meat like ham, sausages and pate. This increased risk probably comes from the additional handling and potential for cross-contamination during the manufacturing, processing and preparation stages. Be careful where you buy your deli meat and always store, cook and refrigerate it safely.