Many Fail to Follow Safe Food Rules

Many people remain at risk for food-borne disease by eating undercooked food or not washing their hands or cutting boards properly after handling raw meat or chicken, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Proper food handling and preparation can reduce risks of food-borne illnesses such as Escherichia coli infection, a potentially fatal infection usually contracted by eating beef contaminated with a toxic strain of the bacteria. People can protect themselves from E. coli infection by cooking beef until it is no longer pink or bloody.

Despite efforts to teach consumers proper food handling, nearly 20% of the 19,356 Americans surveyed said they ate "pink" hamburgers. More than 50% reported eating undercooked eggs -- a potential source of salmonella infection. Another 8% said they ate raw oysters, which may be contaminated with a variety of microorganisms that cause illness. And 1.4% reported drinking raw milk, which may be infected with both E. coli and a bacterium called Camplylobacter jejuni. Every year, an estimated 6.5 to 33 million people in the US fall sick with a food-borne illness and approximately 9,000 die, according to CDC figures.

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 1998;47.

Dr. Mercola's Comment:

It is generally wise to follow these precautions. However, they do need to be balanced with the value of having raw food in the diet. Certain foods should not be eaten no matter how well one cooks them. Examples would be all pork and shellfish.

However, healthy foods that are raised organically and processed properly pose very little, if any, risk to health. I believe that eating many of these foods uncooked would actually enhance one's health. I consume about a dozen raw eggs per week and have not had any problems. I also take a biotin supplement to compensate for its potential loss through raw egg whites.

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