Chicken, Ground Beef Considered Riskiest Meats, Study Says

Lower on the totem pole but still pretty gnarly? Steak and turkey

Guess ham and cheese sandwiches are on the lunch menu for the next week. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has analyzed more than 33,000 cases of foodbourne illnesses from 1998 to 2010, and it turns out that chicken and ground beef have caused the most illnesses over time.

Of all the illnesses reported, one-third of them were caused by E. coli and salmonella. Chicken and ground beef accounted for almost 3,500 cases of illness, while steak and other cuts of beef accounted for about 2,300 cases. Also high on the danger list? Turkey, the Thanksgiving favorite, which caused a little less than 1,600 cases. All of these outbreaks tended to be more severe than outbreaks from barbecue, deli meat, pork, and roast beef (considered "medium" risk meats).

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If you're wary of eating meat, however, the CSPI has also compiled a list of "low risk" meats, with fewer outbreaks and less severe consequences. Try your hand at chicken nuggets, ham, and sausage, which the CSPI ranks as "low risk." You might not be able to get your filet mignon, but we count prosciutto as a cured ham. That works, right?