8. Potato salad
A whole host of microscopic critters can grow in improperly handled potato salad—especially if you get it at a deli, where cross-contamination with deli meat and cheese can occur. Contrary to popular belief, the problem is not the mayonnaise, says Gravely—it’s the potatoes. “When vegetables are cut up, there are more surfaces exposed to potential pathogens,” she says, ” and the potato is cooked and soft as opposed to raw and hard, which also makes it more accessible to bacteria.”
How to avoid food poisoning: Purchase your potato salad at a clean, reputable place, keep it chilled, and consume it within three days.
A few years ago, a massive cantaloupe recall traced the problem to water contaminated with listeria in the packing house. The trouble with melons—as well as other fruit with a tough peel—is that, because you don’t eat it, you may be a tad lackadaisical about cleaning it. But once you’re slicing through it, your knife can pick up any pathogens and pass them onto the edible portions.
How to avoid food poisoning: “Don’t just rinse your cantaloupe, scrub it down and wipe it dry before you cut it open,” says Diez-Gonzalez. And after you slice it up, store the melon in the fridge and plan to polish it off within three days (or toss the rest). For more food safety strategies, download the Foodkeeper app created by the USDA, Cornell University, and The Food Marketing Institute. Make sure you follow these rules this summer to avoid food poisoning.
10. Apple cider
It may be tempting to stop by a roadside stand to try the fresh cider—especially if you’re with kids who are “so thirsty”—but proceed with caution. When apples (and other fruits) are pressed, any bacteria on the outer surface can get into the juice.
How to avoid food poisoning: While healthy adults can fight off the illness, kids, the elderly, and anyone with a weakened immune system may not. To be safe, ask if the juice has been treated for safety, says Dr. Griffin. If not, head to the supermarket and look for a carton that indicates the juice has been pasteurized.
Flour is ground grain: If that grain has bugs in it, warn government food safety experts, those bugs can survive the milling process and end up in your pantry. That’s why even eggless batter and dough are still potentially risky.
How to avoid food poisoning: Always wash your hands after working with flour (that includes flour used for preparing tortilla and pizza dough).
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