ABC News just published a piece called “Where’s the Beef? 10 Unexpectedly Risky foods” with the subtitle, “Common Foods Besides Meat Pose Health Hazards.” The piece seems to be a response to the news about a woman paralyzed after eating beef.
Before we take a look at the list, let’s remember the CDC’s caution: the most common food-borne pathogens have an animal origin. So even if say, apple juice becomes contaminated with e coli, that e coli didn’t come from apples, it came from an animal. E coli exists in animal intestines. It only gets onto plants through excrement. When it’s on plants, it can live for a little while, but it doesn’t grow like crazy the way it will when it’s in animals or on animal flesh (like beef or chicken).
Through simple logic, one can deduce that food prepared in a vegan kitchen is FAR LESS LIKELY TO MAKE YOU ILL than food prepared in a non-vegan kitchen.
Now, let’s take a look at the list of foods in the aforementioned article:
- Leafy greens - E coli is the most common problem. This is because the water and soil used to grow veggies is often contaminated with waste from factory farms or slaughterhouses. Greens are more difficult to wash than most other vegetables, so that’s why animal-based bacteria remains on leafy greens more than on other vegetables. The pre-washed veggies are sometimes washed in contaminated water. Lesson learned: wash your veggies yourself!
- Eggs - Salmonella. Eggs are an especially ripe environment for bacteria and viruses to flourish. The solution most often recommended is to cook out the danger. But clearly, the risk is virtually eliminated if you simply avoid eating eggs.
- Tuna - The key to remember about this one is “Scombroid toxin can’t be cooked away.” The take-home message: tuna is a gamble. Don’t risk it. Don’t eat tuna.
- Oysters - Norovirus is the danger here. This is pretty common knowledge and most people who consume oysters know that they’re risky. To avoid the risk, simply don’t eat oysters.
- Potatoes - The article point out, “the problem, typically, is not the potato itself. Instead, cross contamination during food preparation is a likely source of blame”. So, like leafy greens, it’s not the plant that’s dangerous, it’s the bacteria in/on animals that’s dangerous and careless humans who make it more dangerous. Lesson: cook your potatoes in a vegan kitchen.
- Cheese - “Salmonella was the most common hazard among cheese products”. Listeria bacteria is also a risk. Chuck the cheese!
- Ice cream – It has the same problems as cheese. Opt for vegan ice cream instead. These days, it’s just as tasty.
- Tomatoes - Here’s what the article said: “although fresh produce can be a risk for contracting a pathogen, eating fruits and vegetables is important because ‘these foods are too ubiquitous and too good for you.’” Then they suggest careful avoidance of cross-contamination by separating the dangerous animal products from the plant products, but that’s easier if you simply eliminate the animal products.
- Sprouts - Like all the other plants on the list, the main culprit is contamination from animal products. The best solution? Grow your own sprouts in a vegan kitchen. It’s super easy and that way there’s no risk of contamination.
- Berries - This seems to be mostly the result of poor hygiene and lack of proper supervision in food handling. The example cited in the article was a factory worker infected with Hepatitis A who handled the fruits.
As a final reminder, I’ll repeat the CDC’s claim: meat is the number one cause of foodborne illness.
Go vegan and reduce your risk.