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Top Ten “Dirtiest” Foods

EMSL Analytical offers advanced food testing services for Salmonella, E. coli, and other foodborne pathogens


In its latest issue, Men’s Health magazine published a list of the ten most often contaminated food, based on data concerning incidents of foodborne illnesses. Citing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the magazine reported that 200,000 people fall ill every day. Other estimates put the number closer to 800,000.

Dr. Richard Raymond, former Under Secretary for Food Safety with the USDA commented on the list for Food Safety News, adding that he personally avoids sprouts, raw ground chicken, and raw milk. As for scallions, he remarked that he is always cautious when dealing with any vegetables—including onions or spinach—that grow close to the ground.

Ten “Dirtiest” Foods

  1. Chicken, which has high percentages of Salmonella and Campylopbacter jejuni contamination
  2. Ground Beef, which can contain pathogens such as Clostridium and Staphylococcus
  3. Ground Turkey, which poses a high risk of contamination from Listeria, Campylobacter, Clostridium, and Salmonella
  4. Raw Oysters, which can have high levels of contamination from water sources
  5. Eggs, the consumption of which sickens 660,000 people each year, killing 300
  6. Cantaloupes, 3.5% of which have been found to carry Salmonella and Shigella
  7. Peaches, which often have an very high amounts of pesticide
  8. Packaged Lettuce, which has a high risk of E. coli contamination
  9. Cold Cuts, which have been found to be ideal carriers of Listeria
  10. Scallions, which are potential carriers for a large number of pathogens

“EMSL Analytical’s experienced staff uses validated testing methodologies to test for a wide variety of foodborne pathogens,” states EMSL’s National Food Microbiology Supervisor, Joy Dell’Aringa, M.S., R.M. (N.R.M.), C.F.S.P. “In addition, we have locations across the country for our clients’ convenience.”

For more information about EMSL’s food testing division, please visit or, call 800-220-3675, or email

About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical, Inc. is a full service testing company providing quality lab services under the same private ownership since 1981. Including the corporate lab facility in Cinnaminson, NJ, EMSL Analytical operates over thirty laboratories nationwide in the US and Canada. We provide analytical services for environmental, indoor air quality (IAQ), industrial hygiene, forensics and materials science, consumer products, food safety, PCR, pharmaceutical, asbestos, lead, and radiological samples. The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations, as well as state and federal regulating bodies. Please see our website for a complete listing of accreditations.


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