Researchers at the University of Florida have identified the top 10 riskiest combinations of food and disease-causing microorganisms. Number one on the list, a microorganism called campylobacter, which is linked with poultry. Researchers created the list in part as a guide for the Food and Drug Administration to adopt a more preventive approach to regulation.
Glenn Morris/ Director, UF Emerging Pathogens Institute: There is a need to really focus on where the risks are and use that as a basis to defining where funds need to be spent to be able to get the best possible public health impact.
Experts say consumers can generally kill pathogens when foods are cooked, but they may not think about contamination from foods they dont cook.
Glenn Morris/ Director, UF Emerging Pathogens Institute: For things like luncheon meats, for example, where the consumer doesnt subsequently cook it, and if the product is contaminated when the consumer gets it, theres really nothing they can do to make it any better before he or she eats it.
The list also identified four pathogens that are high-risk for pregnant women, including a microorganism called toxoplasma found in pork and beef. Researchers say the best way to avoid food poisoning is to use proper handling and cooking techniques when dealing with raw meats in the kitchen.