According to Food Safety Data, these foods are the most frequently recalled items on the market. Also, these are commonly prone to cause disease outbreaks and so should only be consumed after proper cooking that would eliminate food-borne pathogens.
Disease outbreaks are terrible and the last thing anyone hopes for. But what if we told you there are foods that are prone to such outbreaks?
In this article we examine some of the foods that
have been frequently linked to serious recalls and disease outbreaks in the last five years.
This should not shock you as there is currently an ongoing Center for Disease Control (CDC) investigation into a salmonella outbreak in flour.
Flour is most frequently contaminated with E. coli and salmonella, transmitted via animal waste in the fields where the wheat is grown.
Milling the wheat into flour doesn't get rid of those disease pathogens, in fact, only cooking above 145-165 degrees F does.
In addition to the ongoing outbreak investigation, there have been two other serious flour recalls in the last 5 years; the first in 2019 and the other in 2021.
Fortunately these pathogens are easy to avoid in flour if people can stop eating that raw cookie dough or batter.
These dessert batters and doughs are often behind flour recalls and related outbreaks (including the current one).
According to Consumer Reports precut cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon, whole cantaloupes, papayas, and peaches were most commonly associated with salmonella-related recalls.
These are the fruits most commonly sold pre-cut in stores. “When you cut into produce, you increase the risk of transferring bacteria that may be on its surface into its flesh,” said James E. Rogers, the director of food safety research and testing at CR.
“In commercial facilities, with fruits and vegetables processed in one place, it can create opportunities for cross contamination.”
Since fruit is most commonly consumed raw, the risk of exposure to bacteria is high. It is best to avoid precut fruit when you can, as well as avoiding bruised or damaged fruit.
Ground poultry is most commonly associated with salmonella, but all forms of raw chicken and turkey also contain salmonella. This is because poultry producers can legally sell their product even if they know it may contain salmonella.
The USDA allows salmonella in up to 10% of whole chickens it tests at a processing plant, and up to 15% of chicken parts and 25% of ground chicken tested.
There were two very large recalls in 2020 and 2021 that linked onions to salmonella, and resulted in more than 2,100 sick people and over 400 hospitalized.
These outbreaks were determined to be most likely from contaminated irrigation water, according to the FDA.
These foods are still healthy to eat but it is advised that extra caution be taken to ensure they are safe before consumption.