Though spinach, berries, and tomatoes don’t have a place on the This Is Why You’re Fat honor roll, they are newly minted members of an even more dubious club: the Center for Science in the Public Interest’s Top 10 Riskiest Foods list, which was published today. Though some of the foods, such as oysters and eggs, are more commonly associated with such causes of food poisoning as vibrio, Norovirus, and salmonella, respectively, fruits and vegetables tend to be the victims of E. Coli-tainted run-off from neighboring factory farms, as well as poor handling practices. This vulnerability won’t be news to anyone who’s been following the news for the past few years, but it’s discouraging to see that relatively little has been done to remove the risk factor from otherwise inherently healthy foods.
One food that made the list but hasn’t made much news is ice cream: Although it’s not the first thing one would associate with salmonella or staphylococcus, outbreaks have indeed occurred. But most of the risk, it turns out, is from the growing legion of home ice cream makers who use undercooked eggs in their custard base.
The CSPI’s list coincides with a push for the Food Safety Enhancement Act, which would grant the FDA greater regulatory power over food companies and processing facilities. The House passed the legislation in July, and a similar bill is pending in the Senate.