August 27, 2007

The Mayo Myth

Excuse me while I slightly veer from my usual nutrition posts to shatter a myth I have heard all my life, particularly when the temperature creeps into three-digit territory.

It often involves someone saying they have an upset stomach after going to a picnic or outdoor event and someone piping in with, "did you have anything with mayo in it?"

Guess what? Commercial mayonnaise is so acidic that pathogens have a terribly tough time growing on it.

If you ate potato salad that sat under the sun for a few hours and don't feel so fresh the next day, don't blame the mayo -- blame the potatoes!

That's right. Potatoes are a high-carbohydrate food with the right amount of moisture and the perfect pH for pathogens to cavort in.

Another likely foodborne illness candidate during the hot summer months? Melons. If that fruit salad that spent four hours outside the refrigerator contains this fruit, save your stomach the trouble and opt for another dessert.

We now return to your regularly scheduled programming.

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