The Restaurant Foods Most Likely to Make You Sick

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Few things in life are more unpleasant than dealing with a bout of food poisoning. Not only can it leave you laid up for days — it can send you to the hospital or worse. The CDC estimates that every year a whopping 48 million people in the U.S. contract foodborne illness, and of those, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die. 

Sometimes it’s easy to figure out what the culprit was when you get sick from something you ate — that deli turkey that smelled a little funky, for example, or that leftover fish that had been in the fridge for a little too long. But oftentimes, try as we might, it’s impossible to pinpoint exactly what it was that we ate that is causing such misery.  

Improper handling of food at home is responsible for a lot of food poisoning, but don’t think you’re necessarily safe just because you’re dining out in a place where professionals have prepared your dinner. Indeed, most restaurants take great pains to keep their customers from getting sick, making sure that food is stored at safe temperatures, produce is thoroughly washed, meats are fully cooked, and cross-contamination is avoided. (This is the right temperature for 20 kinds of meat and poultry.)

But it’s basically impossible to bring the risk of foodborne illness down to zero, and something’s bound to fall through the cracks occasionally. If you don’t want to take a chance of falling ill when you dine out, then, you might want to avoid ordering certain foods. (This applies to restaurant food you eat at home, too, of course. You should probably never order these foods for delivery.)

To determine which restaurant foods could be most problematic, 24/7 Tempo reviewed a list of foods that can cause food poisoning published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and an article about potentially contaminated or unsafe foods from Mashed.