Food poising is not fun. Nothing is more annoying than being fit and spritely one day and then having everything coming out of you the next. However, luckily for us, we have professionals at the top looking out for us.
A deep knowledge of thousands of food poisoning cases across the US has scared Bill Marler off certain foods. Marler has more than two decades working as a food poisoning advocate and attorney, so he is more than qualified to tell people what they should and shouldn’t be eating.
Across his career, the attorney has won more than $600 million for clients in foodborne-illness cases and has become convinced that some foods just aren’t worth the risk. Here are the eight things he refuses to eat/drink and why.
1. Unfiltered water
Marler thinks this is a no-brainer saying, “Almost everything conceivable that can make you sick can be found in water.” Unfiltered water – even from the cleanest streams – can contain animal faeces for example. This can spread Giardia, which has symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhoea and results in roughly 4,600 hospitalizations a year. You can also get Hepatitis A, E. coli and cholera. Silicon Valley may have it wrong this time.
2. Uncooked flour
Helping kneed dough is one thing but eating it is another. Marler claims that uncooked flour can actually spread bacteria. “Most people think that raw eggs are the biggest food poisoning threat in cookie dough. However, flour can also be a culprit — and you don’t even have to eat it. Simply not washing your hands after getting uncooked flour on them can spread E. coli.”
3. Raw oysters
Marler is quoted saying he’s seen more foodborne illnesses linked to shellfish in the past five years than in the past two decades. The culprit? Warming waters. As our oceans begin feels the effects of global warming, the moderate temperatures help produce microbial growth on oysters. This means more gross things end up in raw oysters and therefore in your mouth.
4. Precut or prewashed fruits and veggies
Marler says he avoids these “like the plague.” Convenience may be nice, but, as more people are handling and processing the food, the more the chances of contamination increase. He thinks it just isn’t worth the risk.
5. Raw sprouts
Sprout contamination is surprisingly common, with more than 30 bacterial outbreaks – primarily salmonella and E. coli in the past two decades. “There have been too many outbreaks to not pay attention to the risk of sprout contamination,” Marler says. “Those are products that I just don’t eat at all.” Careful of your next stir-fry or spring roll.
6. Rare meat
Like Trump, Marler thinks a well-done steak is the only way to go. According to him “meat needs to be cooked to 160 degrees throughout to kill bacteria that could cause E. coli or salmonella.”
7. Uncooked eggs
In the 80s and 90s, there was a salmonella epidemic, so if you’re one of those people who remembers this, not eating raw eggs will seem like a no-brainer. However, according to Marler, the chance of suffering from food poisoning from raw eggs is much lower today than it was 20 years ago, but he still thinks no one should take chances.
8. Unpasteurized milk and juices
A precursor to the raw water trend, people have been drinking raw milk and juices for a while, arguing that pasteurization depletes nutritional value. Marler argues that “pasteurization is not dangerous.” Skipping the safety step means an increased risk of contamination by bacteria, viruses, and parasites. He adds, “There’s no benefit big enough to take away the risk of drinking products that can be made safe by pasteurization.”
Keep this list in mind the next time you go somewhere new and you’ll avoid giving yourself an upset stomach the next day. Ultimately you can’t fight everything off, that’s just life, but don’t say no one warned you the next time you have some raw oysters or even chicken sashimi.