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At-Risk Eaters Should Skip Some Foods Advises FDA

Mechele R. Dillard's picture

The food supply in the U.S. is considered safe, but there is potential for foodborne illness, for some more than others.

Although the U.S. food supply is one of the safest in the world, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does indicate that some groups are at greater risk for developing foodborne illness.

Who is at risk?

Groups the FDA includes in the “at risk” category are:

  • Pregnant Women
  • Young Children
  • Older Adults
  • People with Immune Systems Weakened by Disease or Medical Treatment

What Foods to Avoid?

The FDA suggests that if you are in an “at-risk” category, you should be advised not to eat:

  • Raw or undercooked meat or poultry.
  • Raw fish, partially cooked seafood (such as shrimp and crab), and refrigerated smoked seafood.
  • Raw shellfish (including oysters, clams, mussels, and scallops) and their juices.
  • Unpasteurized (raw) milk and products made with raw milk, like yogurt and cheese.
  • Soft cheeses made from unpasteurized milk, such as Feta, Brie, Camembert, blue-veined, and Mexican-style cheeses (such as such as Queso Fresco, Panela, Asadero, and Queso Blanco).
  • Raw or undercooked eggs or foods containing raw or undercooked eggs, including certain homemade salad dressings (such as Caesar salad dressing), homemade cookie dough and cake batters, and homemade eggnog. NOTE: Most pre-made foods from grocery stores, such as Caesar dressing, pre-made cookie dough, or packaged eggnog are made with pasteurized eggs.
  • Unwashed fresh vegetables, including lettuce/salads.
  • Unpasteurized fruit or vegetable juices (these juices will carry a warning label).
  • Hot dogs, luncheon meats (cold cuts), fermented and dry sausage, and other deli-style meats, poultry products, and smoked fish — unless they are reheated until steaming hot.
  • Salads (without added preservatives) prepared on site in a deli-type establishment, such as ham salad, chicken salad, or seafood salad.
  • Unpasteurized, refrigerated pâtés or meat spreads.
  • Raw sprouts (alfalfa, bean, or any other sprout).

What are the Symptoms?

If you are made sick by your food, the symptoms usually appear between 12 to 72 hours after eating the food. However, some symptoms may come on in as little as 30 minutes, or take as long as four weeks to appear. Symptoms include:

  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea (may be bloody), and abdominal pain
  • Flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, and body ache

The FDA advises that people contact their healthcare provider if they suspect they have a foodborne illness.

Image: Wikimedia Commons