Paella tastes delicious, but it could actually be disastrous. (Photo: Corbis)
If Spain is on your travel list this summer, you may want to take a really good bathroom book with you on your journey. (We suggest The Knockoff by our managing editor, Jo Piazza.) Surprisingly, a new study found that the European country has the highest rate of food poisoning in the world.
The research comes from travel specialists at the British law firm Slater and Gordon, who asked 2,000 vacationers to report their bathroom experiences abroad, according to the British publication Express. The firm originally funded the study because they noticed that there was a rise in the number of people requesting their services after falling ill while traveling.
Here are the top 10 places people have gotten sick abroad:
1. Spain (30 percent)
2. Turkey (15 percent)
3. Egypt (13 percent)
4. Greece (12 percent)
5. France (12 percent)
6. Italy (8 percent)
7. America (7 percent)
8. India (7 percent)
9. Morocco (6 percent)
10. Thailand (6 percent)
And that’s not the only information that came out of the study. The travel specialists also researched how likely people were to go to specific countries based on their fear of the food.
It turns out that one in four people said that the local food was definitely a factor in deciding where to go, and 40 percent said that simple hygiene was also a concern. As a whole, India caused the most concern: More than 20 percent of travelers said they chose to avoid the area because they did not want to get a case of the infamous “Delhi Belly.”
Potential “Delhi Belly”-inducing street food in New Delhi, India. (Photo: Thinkstock)
Vegetarians were especially concerned. Half of the vegetarians surveyed said that they simply did not trust that the veggies wouldn’t be mixed with meat while abroad. They weren’t exactly wrong: 37 percent had actually seen meat in a vegetarian dish on the menu.
Related: How To Plan Your Own Food Tour
Be sure to examine your food before you eat it, just to be extra safe. (Photo: Corbis)
So what can you do to protect yourself — i.e. your stomach — on the road? Check out these tips on what not to eat when you’re abroad. Second, be sure to get your travel insurance before you go, so you’ll be protected if you end up falling ill.
And if you do end up in Spain, you may want to be extra careful around all of that paella.