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Experts provide tips on how to avoid getting sick from your food


A listeria outbreak linked to peaches, plums and nectarines has sickened 11 people in seven states, and one person has died, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC estimates there are 48 million cases of foodborne illness in the U.S. every year. 

 For Meghan Elarde, a case of food poisoning turned her into a cautious shopper. 

“I got so violently ill. It was frightening,” she told CBS News. 

She said the experience caused her to become “way more concerned” about her groceries. Now, she buys hydroponic lettuce — leaves that are grown in water instead of soil — from Tom’s Market in Warrenville, Illinois.

“I buy it because it is grown in a controlled environment,” she said. “I like it. There’s no pesticides added. There’s not a million people touching it and messing with it.”

Elarde used to buy bagged lettuce, which, along with other leafy greens, is number one on Consumer Reports’ 10 Risky Recalled Foods list due to the number of illnesses, outbreaks and recalls they’ve been linked to.

“Bagged lettuce has been through a lot of steps before it gets to you,” Sana Mujahid, a food microbiologist and Consumer Reports’ director of food safety, told CBS News. “It’s grown in a field. It’s taken through a processing plant. It’s cut up. It’s bagged. So, there are a lot of chances for contamination.”

The same applies to pre-cut fruit, so Mujahid recommends buying whole fruit and cutting it yourself.

Cheese and deli meats, ground beef, onions, turkey, chicken, papaya, peaches, melon and flour also made it onto Consumer Reports’ list of risky foods.

If a melon’s rind comes in contact with contaminated irrigation water, when cut it can transfer to the fruit. Experts say to avoid bruised onions and produce because bacteria can enter and cause gastrointestinal issues, which can be serious for the immunocompromised.

More than 3,000 die from foodborne illness every year, according to the CDC.

Experts say it’s also important to be aware of recalls and to prepare your food with care.



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