(TMU) — If you’ve ever tried sushi from a gas station or kept a burrito in your backpack for too long, you’ve probably experienced food poisoning. The symptoms, which range from uncontrollable diarrhea to vomiting, are uncomfortable to say the least.
Though food poisoning is rarely fatal, it is absolutely avoidable. Attorney Bill Marler, who specializes in foodborne illness cases, knows this fact all too well. Over the past two decades, he has won his clients over $600 million in settlement money. He is also litigating suits against Chipotle for the chain’s E. Coli and norovirus outbreaks.
These are the six foods Marler refuses to eat:
1) Raw Oysters
According to Marler, raw oysters have been linked to more food borne illnesses in the past five years than in the two preceding decades. The culprit? Warming waters. Due to climate change, bodies of water are heating up and, as a result, microbial growth is thriving. That thriving bacteria is ending up in the raw oysters consumers are happily slurping down.
2) Precut Fruits and Vegetables
Another food Marler avoids “like the plague” is precut and pre-washed fruits and vegetables. The convenience is overlooked by the fact that handling and processing the food increases the chance of contamination. The attorney says it’s simply not worth the risk.
3) Raw Sprouts
Sprouts are incredibly nutritious for you, but they are also a likely source of foodborne illness. More than 30 bacterial outbreaks—primarily salmonella and E. Coli—have occurred in the past two decades thanks to sprouts.
“There have been too many outbreaks to not pay attention to the risk of sprout contamination,” Marler said. “Those are products that I just don’t eat at all.”
4) Rare and Raw Meat
The “carnivore diet” may be growing in popularity, but Marler is unconvinced of the “benefits” of eating raw and undercooked meat. In fact, he says it should be avoided to prevent food poisoning. The attorney says to avoid foodborne illness, all meat needs to be cooked to 160 degrees throughout. This kills bacteria that could cause E. Coli or salmonella.
5) Uncooked Eggs
If you’re tempted to throw a raw egg (or several) into your morning smoothie, please don’t. Marler says the chance of getting food poisoning from raw eggs is much lower than it was in the 80’s and 90’s, but is still a likelihood. It looks like breakfast will be scrambled.
6) Unpasteurized Juices and Milk
The “live food” movement is a popular trend due to the theory that cooking food depletes nutrients, destroys enzymes, and distorts protein. But, heating juices and milk sold on a large scale may be necessary, simply to reduce the risk of contracting foodborne illness.
Marler says that while pasteurization is not dangerous, raw beverages can be. “There’s no benefit big enough to take away the risk of drinking products that can be made safe by pasteurization,” he said.
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