As the deadliest recalled food on this list, romaine lettuce and bagged salads were likely poisoned by water used to irrigate fields in California and Arizona, where most U.S. lettuce is grown.
Consumer Reports says 90% of listeria infections result in hospitalization, and sandwich-making ingredients are a major danger. Unsterilized slicing machines in the workplace worsen this. If avoiding cold cuts isn't possible, pre-packaged meats or 165°F heating may be better.
Since E. coli grows in animal droppings, pastures and feedlots have it. E. coli can contaminate beef from within. Remove the meat from the store packaging and store it in a different container in the fridge or freezer to prevent bacteria growth.
Some severe salmonella-related onion diseases are likely caused by contaminated irrigation water. Avoid bruised onions and boil them to kill bacteria.
Chickens suffer the same defeat as turkey and are often raised in crowded, dirty conditions that encourage infection. Remember to wash your hands, not chicken.
Since the FDA has trouble checking foreign products, Mexican papayas represent the greatest salmonella risk. Choose unbruised papayas over pre-cut and packaged ones.
Peach orchards near feedlots can spread salmonella. Cooking fruits kills bacteria, but if you're eating fresh peaches, find one without bruises and wash it beforehand.