We have all experienced it, some more often than others, but everyone would agree that getting sick from the food you eat is very unpleasant and to be avoided. Literally millions of people fall victim to this malady every year, with symptoms ranging from mild discomfort to death. The most vulnerable among us--the elderly, children, pregnant women and those with underlying health problems--are the most at risk from food borne illness.
Here is a list of ways you can help prevent food poisoning.
Wash hands with warm soapy water before eating
Wash hands often during food preparation
Wash hands after using the restroom
Wash dish towels and kitchen sponges often.
Wash and disinfect kitchen sink, counter tops and cutting boards often
Wash fruits and vegetables with a food-grade veggie wash
Click on the following link to purchase fruit and veggie wash online:
Temperature, Temperature, Temperature
Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold
Cook meats to high enough temperature to kill pathogens
Don’t eat raw meat
Keep raw foods cold until ready to use
Thaw frozen foods in the refrigerator—not on the counter
Keep refrigerator temperature at less than 40° F.
Keep freezer temperature at 0° F. or lower
Heat leftovers completely to at least 160° F.
Marinate foods in the refrigerator, rather than on the countertop
Keep frozen foods solidly frozen
Don’t buy frozen foods that are soft or that have obviously thawed and refrozen.
Avoid food poisoning by cross-contamination
Separate cutting board and utensils for meat and vegetables
Store meat packages on lower shelves or on a plate to avoid dripping onto other foods
Avoid dishes with raw eggs (including raw cookie dough!)
Discard open jars of mayo after two months
Most food-borne illnesses are NOT detectable by smell, but if it smells off, throw it out!
Use leftovers promptly, preferably within 4-5 days
Pay attention to “use by” dates on canned goods
Use proper home canning methods to keep food from spoiling
Caveat: If you have a bird feeder, always wash your hands thoroughly after filling it or handling it, since birds can carry salmonella and other bacteria.
How food makes you sick
There are two major ways that food can poison you and make you sick. Foods contaminated with bacteria such as Salmonella, Listeria, or E-coli can wreak havoc on your digestive system. Then there are foods that contain toxins, either naturally or as a result of microbes such as Staphylococcus or Botulism. Both types of food-borne illness can cause severe illness and even death.
Caveat: Raw eggs may be infected with salmonella bacteria. If a recipe requires whipped egg whites or other forms of raw eggs, please consider the possibility of salmonella contamination, especially if serving the dish to children, the elderly, of those with underlying health problems.