Not to dampen your foodie spirit, but some eats come with a side of risk that’s not listed in the description. From raw sprouts that could be throwing a bacteria party, to that rare steak from your favorite restaurant that’s playing with danger, this guide walks you through the minefield of risky eats out there and offers some safer, just-as-tasty alternatives to try instead.

Nutritionist with a selection of healthy foods and a dietary chart on the table.
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Raw Sprouts

A bowl of fresh alfalfa sprouts with a loaf of bread in the background.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Those crunchy raw sprouts might seem like a healthy add-on, but they can play host to some not-so-welcome guests like E. coli and Salmonella. Both bacteria love the same warm, humid conditions sprouts grow in. Cooking them thoroughly in a stir-fry kills off the potential harm so you can still enjoy the health benefits they offer.

Raw Unpasteurized Milk

Two glasses of milk on a wooden table.
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Raw milk is having a moment lately and making its way into select grocery stores under the guise of “for animal consumption.” While it may be tempting to get in on this trend with its purported health benefits, drinking unpasteurized milk can be an open invitation to allowing bacteria into your gut. Stick with pasteurized milk if you want to play it safe.

Pre-cut Fruits & Veggies

Fresh vegetables and bread on a kitchen countertop.
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Pre-cut fruits and veggies from the grocery store are admittedly a huge convenience, especially for party prep and summer picnics but they’re also whispering warnings of possible bacterial hitchhikers due to the extra handling. It’s not only much more cost effective to slice the fruit yourself, it’s safer from a bacteria standpoint as well.

Hot Food Bars

A display of vegetables in trays in a grocery store.
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Hot food bars and their salad bar counterparts can be a minefield of bacteria if not kept at the right temps, not to mention the cross-contamination options. They’re convenient but do you really trust the grocery store employee to be monitoring the temperature for dozens of trays? Cooking at home or grabbing something freshly made is a much safer option. Plus, those hot bars are not cheap!

Raw Mollusks

Oysters on ice with a glass of champagne.
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Sucking down raw oysters might feel fancy and is a great way to get in some zinc, but you could be slurping up viruses and bacteria with them. Stick to cooked clams, oysters and scallops rather than ordering the raw seafood tower next time you’re out. They’re still delicious steamed or grilled and a heck of a lot safer to eat.

Steak Tartare

Classic steak tartare with a raw egg yolk, capers, pickles, and onions, served on a slate board.
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Steak tartare might sound fancy, but it’s a bit like playing roulette with Salmonella and E. coli. Go for a steak cooked to perfection, maybe even minced and seasoned to mimic tartare vibes, minus the microbial mischief.

Anything from a Damaged Can

Many cans of edible foods past expiration are stacked on a shelf.
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Eating from a dented or bulging can is basically rolling out the red carpet for botulism. Not the kind of guest you want at your dinner table. Make sure any canned food you’re eating is in pristine shape and when in doubt, toss it. Thankfully, canned food is pretty inexpensive because it’s just not worth the risk.

Raw Eggs

A variety of eggs in different colors arranged in a cardboard egg carton.
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While many of us aren’t downing raw eggs by themselves, this can be a problem for those of us who love licking the bowl when baking. Pasteurized eggs take away a lot of the concern but your best bet is to just wait until your sweet treat is baked through before tasting!

Raw Flour

Two wooden spoons with flour on a black surface dusted with flour.
Photo Credit: YayImages.

Raw flour’s got a dirty little secret: E. coli. Since it doesn’t get a clean-up before hitting your kitchen, baking or cooking your creations is a must. Want to indulge in some raw cookie dough vibes? Look for recipes using heat-treated flour, so you can have your (safe) dough and eat it too.

Ordering Anything “Rare” at a Restaurant

Rare cooked tuna steak on a white plate.
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Ordering your meal rare at a restaurant might be your preference, but it’s an easy way of flirting with food-borne pathogens and parasites. High heat is the only thing that can get rid of them so a rare steak isn’t the smartest move. To keep things safe, ask for your dish to be cooked medium.

10 Foods Safe To Leave Out Overnight And Still Enjoy

Fresh vegetables and bread on a kitchen countertop.
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Ever found yourself wondering if that pizza slice is still good after spending the night on the counter? We’ve all faced the late-night dilemma of whether to fridge it or risk it. Here’s a list of foods that can safely hang out on your counter overnight and still be tasty and safe to eat the next day. No more need to guess!

See Them Here: 10 Foods Safe To Leave Out Overnight And Still Enjoy

Top 10 Most Common Food Safety Mistakes People Make At Home

A man and a boy are preparing hamburgers on a cutting board.
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Navigating kitchen safety can sometimes feel like walking through a minefield of dos and don’ts. Let’s shed some light on the common food safety mistakes that sneak into our daily routines. By understanding and adjusting these small, often overlooked actions, we can significantly improve our food handling practices and keep our kitchens and families safe.

See Them Here: Top 10 Most Common Food Safety Mistakes People Make At Home

10 Best Frozen Veggies To Keep In Your Freezer At All Times For Easy Meals

A freezer full of vegetables.
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Keeping the right frozen veggies on hand is like having a secret weapon for easy meal prep. This list is a carefully selected lineup of the best frozen vegetables that promise to turn your everyday cooking into something effortlessly delicious. From the sweet char of fire roasted corn to the versatile goodness of chopped spinach, these freezer staples ensure you’re always ready to whip up something tasty.

See them here: 10 Best Frozen Veggies To Keep In Your Freezer At All Times For Easy Meals

Select images provided by Depositphotos.

Founder and Writer at Running to the Kitchen | About

Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.

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