What Foods Cause Food Poisoning?

It can be easy to turn a blind eye to foods which can be potentially harmful to your body, and this can happen more often than you think. You can find potential threats in a variety of different foods, foods that you find obvious and others that you would not have expected.

In this article we will be looking into depth about the importance of knowing what you are consuming as well as listing a variety of foods which can cause food poisoning.

What is Food Poisoning?

Food poisoning is caused when a person eats contaminated food. More times than others, this is unknown to the consumer until the illness settles in, but you can be reassured that the illness will cure itself without treatment.

For a food to cause any illness, it would have to be riddled in bacteria, bacteria which is harmful to the body – this includes bacteria such as salmonella, which most people know or have heard about.

There are many reasons a person can get food poisoning, and more often than not it is caused by themselves.

If the Food Isn’t Cooked Thoroughly

It is possible that food isn’t cooked thoroughly, meaning some parts of your meal may be undercooked or even raw.

When Foods That Shouldn’t be Reheated are Reheated and Consumed

Not all foods can be reheated. It is important to have knowledge on what foods can and can’t be before doing so.

When Foods are Eaten Past Their Expiry Date

Expiry dates are put on food products in order to protect the consumer’s health and prevent any risks such as getting food poisoning. Eating past that recommended date could potentially cause harm to the body.

If the Food is Incorrectly Stored

Certain foods should be stored in specific areas; whether that is somewhere room temperature, cool, or frozen. Getting this wrong and then consuming that wrongly stored food can be a cause for food poisoning.

Symptoms That Indicate Food Poisoning

what foods cause food poisoning?

Like every illness, there are certain symptoms which indicate if you have caught something. Food poisoning too holds symptoms. By knowing these, you will be able to catch on to the problem quickly and save yourself from worry or panic.

Symptoms do not always show themselves straight away. It can take hours, sometimes days, to start showing symptoms.

Here are some of the following symptoms:

Upset Stomach

An upset stomach is one of the main symptoms of food poisoning. Having consumed something not fit for the body, your stomach will have a hard time dealing with that swallowed, foreign bacteria. The toxins which have entered your body can create irritation to your stomach lining and can become inflamed which is a painful experience.


Nausea is another symptom which people may contract when food is poisoned. Nausea is a common symptom and can eventually result in vomiting.

This is a very normal reaction as it is the body dealing with the infection. Unwanted germs enter our system through consuming bad food and this in turn creates harmful toxins. This poison is the leading cause of nausea and vomiting.


Another symptom of food poisoning is developing diarrhea. With food poisoning this causes inflammation, and the inflammation affects the bowels, making it less effective.

This is why diarrhea can occur and can last a number of consecutive days.

High Fever

If you notice that your temperature is high then this may be a sign of food poisoning. You will feel yourself burning up, but this is the body trying to fight off the illness. You may find your temperature settling over 100 degrees.

Foods that Cause Food Poisoning

The foods which poison your body can vary. In some cases, some drinks can also be a cause for poisoning. Depending on the way it is stored and its condition, some foods are more likely to cause food poisoning than others. Foods are there to be consumed however food also takes a lot of looking after in terms of storage needs and cooking.

Below is a list of the main foods which cause food poisoning:


what foods cause food poisoning?

Meat is one of the easiest foods to get food poisoning from. With 89% of Americans consuming meat in their daily diet, the risk of food poisoning from meats such as chicken and turkey are increased.

If certain meats are undercooked and raw, this can be very harmful to the body. Campylobacter and salmonella are commonly found in the guts of birds and can often contaminate fresh poultry.

It is inevitable that your raw meat will be teaming with these bacteria, that is why the cooking process is so important. Ingesting salmonella or campylobacter can only result in a negative result as these bacteria are not meant to mix with the body.

When cooking your meat, you are essentially killing the bacteria thus making it safe to eat. It is important to also watch where you are preparing your meat as cross contamination is just as destructive as consuming the uncooked poultry.

Be sure that the raw meat isn’t coming into contact with your utensils or raw vegetables. You can’t physically see the bacteria so it is essential to make these extra precautions to ensure your safety.


what foods cause food poisoning?

Eggs are known for containing salmonella, and this occurs when the hen which lays the egg develops an ovary infection. Salmonella is bad for a person’s body and although not as common today it is still risky.

You may hear of people consuming raw egg as part of a nutritional diet plan, and this is more acceptable today because of the decrease of infection upon hens, but it is still not recommended.

Each year around 79,000 salmonella related cases are confirmed, showing that there is still some risk. It is important to make sure your eggs are cooked – cook your eggs until both the yolk and the whites of the egg are firm.

Fruits and Vegetables

what foods cause food poisoning 4

Your fruits and vegetables grow in farms before being delivered to mainstream services for the general public to purchase and consume.

It is easy for germs to latch on to these fruits and vegetables at the farm, on its journey to the store, even as it’s sitting on your kitchen counter, and these developed germs can end in food poisoning. This is why it is important for people to wash their fruits and vegetables before consumption to minimize that risk.

As well as this, cross-contamination can occur if you do not make the right decisions. When preparing food, be sure to use separate boards separating your raw meats from your raw vegetables. If any raw meat bacteria lands on your vegetables and you consume it, this only leads to those bacteria entering your system.


what foods cause food poisoning?

What many people are not aware of is the importance of rice and how to consume it in the correct way. There are risks to eating rice both before and after it has been cooked.

Uncooked rice can be contaminated with Bacillus cereus, one bacteria which is the leading cause of food poisoning. This bacteria can grow when left at room temperature – the more the rice is sat out, the higher the risk. To avoid this it is best to put your cooked rice in the refrigerator as soon as you can.

It is also recommended not to reheat rice as it is risky. Most try to consume their rice all at once if possible. If this is not achievable then keep your leftover rice refrigerated or in the freezer so it lasts longer.

When you do want to eat the leftover rice, make sure that you heat it up to the point of steaming hot – this helps to kill off any bacteria that may have grown and makes it safer for the consumer.


what foods cause food poisoning?

Although seafood is something eaten by many people, it can be dangerous for your body once consumed. Raw fish can contain parasites that once eaten can be a leading cause for food poisoning.

The temperature your fish is stored in can also have an effect – if stored incorrectly this can lead to the fish being contaminated by histamine which is a toxin commonly found in fish. Histamine, however, cannot be killed by cooking like other bacteria – this results in another form of food poisoning called scombroid poisoning.

Ciguatera fish poisoning is another type of food poisoning which derives from fish, and it is known that 10,000-50,000 people living in tropical areas develop this food poisoning.

It is better to purchase store bought seafood to ensure it is safe, and when at home be sure to store the seafood in a chilled place such as the refrigerator or the freezer. This will reduce the risks of your fish being contaminated by histamine which are harmful to your body.

Deli Meat

what foods cause food poisoning?

Deli meats include meat such as ham, salami and bacon – it is important that these meats are cooked thoroughly to reduce the risk of harmful illness.

These meats can become contaminated by bacteria such as listeria and this comes from direct contact with raw meats such as chicken, or from poor hygiene in the kitchen.

Raw Milk

what foods cause food poisoning?

From the 1950s, the availability of pasteurized milk was spread across the US and since then there has been a substantial decline in raw milk related food poisonings.

Pasteurizing milk is a method used to kill away dangerous particles, and this is done by heating up the milk to a high enough temperature. By doing this it is not only making milk safer to drink but is beneficial for other dairy products such as cheese.

People have the ability to pasteurize their own milk at home if they wish too. All you need to do is heat the raw milk to 165 degrees for 15 seconds. This will allow all of the bad toxins to die and purify your milk, making it better to consume.

How to Make Yourself Safe from Food Poisoning

It is very easy to expose yourself to food poisoning if the correct precautions are not being met. It is common to make mistakes with cooking or to rush and not pay attention to the red flags. However, there are many ways to prevent this from happening and ways in which to keep yourself safe.

Wash your Fresh Produce

It is important that you wash all of your fresh produce, and that includes all of your vegetables, leafy produce and fruits. Do this every time before you cook to ensure you are keeping safe.

Often, you may purchase lettuce and notice grains of soil or dirt on them – that is because they have been delivered directly from the farm. That can hold a lot of bacteria and germs so it is essential that you clean your fruit and vegetables thoroughly.

Work Surfaces

Before preparing food and cooking, make sure to wash your hands and clean all of your kitchen surfaces with spray or antibacterial wipes. By doing this you are removing bacteria that is sitting on your surfaces and beginning the cooking process in a sanitary area.

Separate Your Products

It is efficient to separate your food products accordingly, especially in your refrigerator. It is recommended to assign a shelf for each food item – one shelf for raw meat, a shelf for fruit and vegetables, and a shelf for cooked foods.

By separating your products you are preventing any risks of cross contamination which can spoil your food. It is also a good idea to have your raw meats on the lowest shelf. This is so that if your raw meats happen to leak out raw juices it won’t end up going on any other products as there will be no shelf underneath it.

The Right Temperature

It is important that you are maintaining your food at the right temperature, both whilst cooking and when storing your food.

When storing your food be sure to look at the packaging as it is likely to state the recommended storage location. If it does not, there is plenty of information online explaining recommended storage areas. You also have to know which temperature is best, for example, it is wise to keep your refrigerator at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below.

When cooking your meat, a thermometer is recommended. This is to check if your meat has been cooked thoroughly enough.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is More at Risk of Developing Food Poisoning?

Everyone is at risk of developing food poisoning however some are more susceptible to it than others.

People with a higher risk include:

  • Elderly or those aged 65 years and over
  • Pregnant women (listeria is the major one to worry about)
  • Babies
  • Young children
  • Sick people (this is particularly for people who have weak immune systems including people with HIV, AIDs, diabetes and cancer).

To ensure their safety, it is best to avoid certain foods and to pay close attention to products and what you are consuming.

When Should I Visit a Doctor?

Food poisoning is an illness that can cure itself. The body has the ability to fight off all of the foreign bacteria by ways of diarrhea and high fever and this can take some days. But in some cases, food poisoning can be a severe illness and can even lead to death.

The time to call your doctor is when you show any major signs of dehydration:

  • Extreme thirst
  • Dark, concentrated urine
  • Dizziness

You can also call your doctor if:

  • There is blood in your vomit or stool
  • You experience extreme cramps
  • Diarrhea lasts more than three consecutive days
  • You get a tingling sensation in your arms
  • You have a fever over 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit

Final Thoughts

There are many ways to give yourself food poisoning and there are also many ways to prevent it from happening.

In most cases, food poisoning is not life threatening but depending on the circumstances of the individual – for example, if they have a weakened immune system – eating contaminated foods could be fatal. It is important to know what you are consuming and to understand how to keep yourself safe when preparing food.

You can also catch food poisoning when eating out, depending on the quality of the facility and of the food. It is best to check the restaurant’s credentials and hygiene score before visiting, especially if you already have any current health concerns or worries such as food allergies and pregnancy.

A lot of work goes into preparing you food. It is more than just making sure that your food tastes good or if your steak is cooked right, it is about making sure that your work environment is sanitary. With a clean work area, you are ensuring a safer environment.

It is also important to make sure that you are storing products correctly and if you are wanting to reheat food, looking into what is advisable.

With all the different foods that give you food poisoning, it can be daunting, however as long as you are being responsible and taking the right precautions, you will be able to eat comfortably without any risks of harm.