You've probably heard the news about the recent salmonella outbreak (and product recall) linked to ground turkey. The events surrounding the outbreak and recall are scary, but you don't have to swear off meat because of it. However, your efforts to keep informed and educated about food preparation -- particularly for meats -- can help you stay healthy and safe.
Studies show that cutting back on meat is good for your health and the health of the environment. For example, replacing saturated fat-rich foods (like meat) with foods rich in polyunsaturated fats (nuts, vegetable oil, seeds) can reduce the risk of heart disease. It can also reduce water usage. Consider that anywhere from 1,800-2,500 gallons of water go into producing a pound of beef vs. 220 gallons of water for a pound of tofu.
According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), foodborne illnesses take hold after eating food (or drinks) contaminated with bacteria (like salmonella), parasites or viruses, but can also be cased by harmful chemicals if they have contaminated food during harvesting or processing.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that, each year, roughly 1 out of 6 Americans (or 48 million people) gets sick from foodborne diseases, 128,000 people are hospitalized, and 3,000 people die from foodborne diseases.
When you do eat meat take steps at home to help ensure it's a safe experience. The following tips from the National Institute of Health (NIH) are just some ways to help prevent harmful bacteria from growing in food. Read the NIH's entire list.
Sometimes, even your best efforts are not enough to prevent illness. Consider the Mayo Clinic's list of possible signs of salmonella infection (which can last from four to seven days):
Cutting back on red and processed meats can help curb several health concerns affecting many people today. With so many delicious meat-free meal options available, cutting back is the easy part!
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