Are Vegetarians at a Greater Risk for Food Poisoning?

Vegetarians shouldn’t worry about food poisoning because they’re generally less likely to get sick from eating meat. Meat, poultry, and seafood are the usual culprits for food-borne illness. Vegetarians aren’t immune to the risk of food-borne illness, however. Bacteria from food handling may cause outbreaks of food poisoning in the US, UK, and Europe.

The cause of food poisoning can range from bacteria to the growth of pathogenic bacteria. Meat can contain salmonella or E. coli bacteria, while raw fruits and vegetables contain bacterium from animal poop. Eating spoiled fruit and vegetables can cause mild symptoms, but eating raw fish can lead to more serious problems. In addition to animal protein, plant food has less absorption than animal proteins.

Luckily, the majority of bacteria found in foods and liquids are harmless. Raw fruits and vegetables are prime targets for bacteria, and this contamination can occur at any point in the supply chain. Raw fruit and vegetables can be contaminated by animal and bird feces, contact with sick people during production, or even pest infestations during processing. Dried rice also has a higher risk of bacteria, as it contains resistant spores that can grow into harmful bacteria.

Eggs may be contaminated by dirty or cracked shell. Pasteurized eggs are safer for use in recipes that call for raw eggs. Fruit salads, such as those made from pre-packaged fruits, may also contain Listeria bacteria. These bacteria can grow on the rind of fruits and spread into the flesh. Avoid pre-packaged fruit salads unless they’ve been refrigerated.

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