September 19th, 2012
08:32 PM ET
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For the last 20 years, attorney Bill Marler has represented victims of nearly every large foodborne illness outbreak in the United States, securing $600,000,000 for victims of E. coli, Salmonella, and other illnesses linked to tainted food. Marler is an outspoken advocate for food safety, and maintains the Food Safety Site and the award-winning Marler Blog.

He's picked up a safety tip or two along the way - as well as a definitive personal do-not-eat list.

Bill Marler: 6 tips for safer food shopping, storage, preparation and buying

After 20 years of doing this, I think consumers need to consider eating a "contact sport."

1. Always mistrust claims that some type of food is safer or better for you than other food. Someone is usually hiding something from you.

2. Be on guard and do not be afraid to wash your hands or wipe down a grocery cart.

3. Pay attention to cross-contamination in your shopping and your kitchen. Use the plastic bags in the store to keep food separate.

4. Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.

5. Wash your produce well and cook your meat even hotter.

6. When going out to eat, it is OK to check the restaurant's safety record and to send back food that is not properly prepared. Your life may depend on it.

Marler's do-not-eat list

People ask me all the time what I do not eat. Here is my list: raw milk, unpasteurized juices, sprouts, ground meat of any kind, bagged leafy green and food that is processed so much that you question if it is food.

Information in the gallery above provided by CNN Health

Consumer resources:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Food and Drug Administration's Recalls, Market Withdrawals, & Safety Alerts
FDA Food Safety
United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety Education

How sprouts make you sick
The other E. coli threat? Raw milk
What? Chicken butt. Why there's salmonella in your eggs
Tainted food – a sticky situation for airline travelers
Mad cow disease confirmed in California

More on food poisoning from CNN Health and all foodborne illness coverage on Eatocracy

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