food poisoning

If you've ever gotten sick from eating tuna, it's sort of like food poisoning but isn't really. If you've ever had an allergic reaction to tuna, it's sort of like an allergy but isn't really.

If (if?) you are hopelessly confused at this point, let's open up the can and look at what's going on.

The science of "poisoning by tuna" is rather interesting, and, although the chemical for the toxin that is responsible has an obscure name, scombrotoxin (1), you know it by its more common alias—histamine, which is formed in certain decaying fish, especially those with dark meat. 

Scombrotoxin poisoning is different from "typical" food poisoning, for example, that from eating undercooked hamburger. The histamine that forms on the tuna survives cooking,...

Americans like to say, "When you're in Mexico, don't drink the water." Mexicans will soon have a maxim of their own: "When you're in America, don't eat the Chipotle."

They would be right, too. It's difficult to think of any other food establishment that has been hit by E. coli, Salmonella, and Norovirus outbreaks, all within the span of a few months. The latest Norovirus outbreak at a Chipotle restaurant in Virginia sickened at least 13 people.

How likely are you to get sick from eating at a Chipotle restaurant? We can answer that...

If you'd  like to play Russian roulette, but don't have a loaded gun handy, you could also try drinking raw milk. True, the chances are less loaded against you, but can still be as devastating, as evidenced by a recent outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes food poisoning attributed to a creamery in Walton, New York that specializes in unpasteurized milk products. The CDC "estimates that Listeria infection is the third leading cause of death from food poisoning in the United States. About 1,600 people get sick from Listeria each year, and about 260 die."

This particular bacteria is a nasty customer — unlike many other bugs, it can survive and grow in refrigerator temperatures, so a...

Pest control and microbial disinfection protocols often utilize ultraviolet (UV) light. The reason is because UV light is extremely damaging to cells. Not only does it trigger the production of toxic compounds (such as reactive oxygen species), but it also causes weird structural changes in DNA (known as thymine dimers). The results are fatal.

UV light, however, is also dangerous to humans. So there is widespread interest in discovering light sources that can kill unwanted organisms while leaving humans unscathed. Farmers may be able to take advantage of the fact that fruit fly pupae are killed by blue light (wavelength = 467 nm), while public...

Whole Foods lies to you. The company's entire business model -- which is predicated upon the idea that organic, non-GMO food is somehow healthier and tastier than regular food -- is a gigantic "alternative fact." And it's a profitable one at that, since organic food commands a high premium over conventional food.

That's what makes the latest news about Whole Foods so infuriating. Food Safety News reports that the company has shut down all three of its regional kitchens because the FDA "discovered a long list of 'serious violations,'" some of which resulted in surfaces being contaminated with Listeria.

Of all the different...

With winter approaching, perhaps you or somebody you know will be unlucky enough to catch a nasty "stomach flu" or "24-hour flu," which will allow you to spend some quality time in the bathroom. And while you will almost certainly feel better within 24-72 hours, here's the catch: There's no such thing as the stomach/24-hour flu.

This widespread misconception stems from the fact that so many people don't understand what the flu actually is. The flu is caused by the influenza virus, different strains of which take on names such as H1N1 or H5N1. (Our own Dr Julianna LeMieux has eloquently explained these weird names.) The seasonal flu is a potentially serious infection for the...

For some, an all-natural lifestyle means eating foods that are as unprocessed as possible, and if you can grow it yourself or collect it from the wild yourself, your natural creds go way up. But there can be a problem with that — as we've reiterated many times, natural doesn't necessarily mean safe — and we're not talking about pesticides here.

A news report recently listed 87 cases of poisoning ascribed to eating mushrooms gathered in the wild in France. Two French agencies, the Agency for Food Environmental and Occupational Food and Safety and the...

Chipotle ERWhen Chipotle execs gather for their year-end meeting, it is a pretty sure bet that Frank Sinatra's "It Was a Very Good Year" will not be playing in the elevators. It was anything but.

Ever since Chipotle's self-righteous claim (which isn't even true) that the company was removing genetically modified ingredients from its food because "it doesn't align with...

Heart-HealthySome 30 to 40 percent of purchased foods are simply discarded by Americans. Drs Roni A. Neff, Marie L. Spiker, and Patricia L. Truant from the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University investigated the factors involved in this high discard rate.

In a national survey that these researchers conducted, 65 percent of the respondents agreed with the statement that they discarded food because they worry about food poisoning. A close runner-up (60 percent) was that they wanted to eat only the...

Dietary satd. fatA new report from the CDC s FoodNet surveillance system presents data about the frequency of foodborne illnesses in 2014, and compares it to those frequencies it found in 2006-2008. FoodNet is a system set up in 1995 to monitor the incidence of foodborne illnesses caused by 9 different pathogens. Only outbreaks confirmed by laboratory analyses are included. The system covers 10 geographic areas in the US, which include about 15 percent of the population.

The good news presented in the report is that...