World's Most Dangerous Foods
Unpasteurized Milk, Europe and Asia
Threat: Nasty flu-like symptoms
This menace comes from the most benign-seeming source: a glass of milk, cream in your coffee, or a little artisan cheese. Much of Asia doesn’t require pasteurization of milk, and plenty of places in rural England and France don’t do it, leaving anyone who consumes that milk at risk of contracting illnesses that come from consuming the bacteria often found in raw milk: E. coli, listeria, salmonella. Another culprit: queso fresco, which tops many dishes in Mexico.
Prognosis: Getting sick from raw milk is known as brucellosis, which can manifest itself with flu-like symptoms such as fever, aches, and the sweats—and sometimes even liver enlargement. The strangest thing, though, is that it can incubate for up to 20 weeks, leaving victims unlikely to connect the dots between a sudden illness and that nice cheese plate last summer in the French countryside. “It’s the great mimic,” says McLaughlin. “Nobody looks for it, and so most people are assumed to have something else.” The good news: a round of antibiotics (which your doctor will likely give you anyway) knocks it out.