We recently blogged about the 10 foods posing the greatest risk to human health, those that are most frequently responsible for outbreaks of salmonella, E. coli and other illnesses, as reported by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Half of them are fruit and vegetables (among them leafy greens and sprouts), two are dairy products (cheese and ice cream), two are seafood and the tenth is eggs.
The November issue of Prevention Magazine takes into consideration foods that aren't necessarily causing immediate illness but may be just as -- or more -- damaging to our long-term health, and comes up with a list of seven foods to stay away from. To do so, the mag asks health experts what foods they personally avoid. Two foods -- potatoes and tomatoes -- are cited on both lists. This is enough to have made me committed to buying only organic potatoes and non-canned tomatoes from now on. Full list after the jump.
1. Canned tomatoes
2. Corn-fed beef
3. Microwave popcorn
4. Non-organic potatoes
5. Farmed salmon
6. Milk produced with artificial hormones
7. Conventional apples
Perhaps the most surprising is canned tomatoes. The acidity of the fruit, the article says, causes the bisphenol-A (BPA) in the lining of the can to more easily leach into it. BPA, as many already know, is responsible for a shocking range of serious health issues. Fredrick Vom Saal, a University of Missouri endocrinologist, tells the magazine, "You can get 50 mcg of BPA per liter out of a tomato can, and that's a level that is going to impact people, particularly the young ... I won't go near canned tomatoes."
The information on potatoes -- which as root vegetables are socked with herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides -- is also fairly disconcerting. The chair of the National Organic Standards Board says, "I've talked wtih potato growers to say point-blank they would never eat the potatoes they sell. They have separate plots where they grow potatoes for themselves without all the chemicals."
On a positive note, the article mentions safer alternatives to the items it names, which can be as easy as buying organic.