5 things our food safety expert would never do

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“And number five, I would never eat raw meat. I know my sushi lovers won’t like this, and I know that sushi is proven to be healthy for you. However, since it is not cooked, it means that an important killing step to kill pathogenic bacteria has not been performed. Because of this, you can catch a serious foodborne illness, and this is especially important for pregnant women whose fetuses are more sensitive to foodborne illnesses and infections.”—JR

Well shit. Count me as one of those depressed sushi lovers who now gaze at their beloved salmon and avocado roll with trepidation. In fact, I don’t just love sushi – I just can’t get enough ceviche and crudo. But one bad batch (and yes, I’ve actually experienced that) can send you on a super-fun 24-hour trip to the bathroom. Raw fish can be contaminated with Vibrio vulnificus, a bacterium that lives in coastal waters, as well as Listeria or Salmonella. Raw fish can also contain parasites that are killed at very low temperatures, which is why FDA guidelines recommend that most fish intended to be served raw must be frozen first. James says he wouldn’t eat sushi, although others can choose to if they want because the risk is manageable when restaurants and home cooks follow safety precautions when preparing the fish (phew!). But if you’re immunocompromised, a child, a senior, or pregnant, the risks can be more serious. Check out this list of healthy and safe fish to eat.

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