I would like Dr. Kantor to provide insight on foods you
should avoid on vacation because they can make you sick from
food poisoning, mishandling, etc. Please provide foods and
reasons why you should avoid it. Research-backed facts are a
Tap Water. If you are traveling out of the country avoid drinking anything other than bottled water. Our system adapts to our own domestic water from the tap and each country is different. There is a high percentage of getting sick from the water including symptoms of diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach upset.
Fresh fruit and greens. These options are healthy and should be a part of everyone’s healthy diet, but they also contain pesticides and in some cases can be cross contaminated with bacteria which will result in illness including, GI distress, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and dehydration. Cantaloupes accounted for 56% of the outbreaks, watermelons accounted for 38% and honeydew melons accounted for 6%.
Sprouts of any kind, again a healthy option but one of the most risky foods to consume due to the presence of bacteria including Salmonella, E. coli and Listeria. Seeds require warm, moist and nutrient-rich conditions for the sprouts to grow. These conditions are ideal for the rapid growth of bacteria.
Seafood are very well known for their risk of food poisoning. Fish that has not been stored at the correct temperature has a high risk of being contaminated with histamine, a toxin produced by bacteria in fish. Histamine is not destroyed by normal cooking temperatures and results in a type of food poisoning known as scombroid poisoning. It causes a variety of symptoms including nausea, wheezing and swelling of the face and tongue.
Shellfish such as clams, mussels, oysters and scallops also carry a risk of food poisoning. Algae that are consumed by shellfish produce many toxins, and these can build up in the flesh of shellfish, posing danger to humans when they consume the shellfish.
Store-bought shellfish are typically safe to eat. Beware, shellfish caught from unmonitored areas (typically outside of the United States) may be unsafe due to contamination from sewage, storm water drains and septic tanks. If you have any doubts due to the appearance or smell of the seafood being served do not take a chance.