Food Poisoning and Safe Food Handling - Prevention
You can prevent most cases of
food poisoning by being careful when you prepare and
store food. Wash your hands and working surfaces while preparing food, cook
foods to safe temperatures, and refrigerate foods promptly. Be especially
careful when you cook or heat perishable foods, such as eggs, meats, poultry,
fish, shellfish, milk, and milk products. Also take extra care if
you are pregnant, have an
impaired immune system, or are preparing foods for
children or older people.
The following steps can help prevent
food poisoning (adapted from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and
You can get food poisoning after eating food contaminated by viruses or bacteria.
Other types of food poisoning can be caused by parasites or exposures to toxins or chemical agents.
Food poisoning causes anything from mild to severe acute discomfort and may leave you temporarily dehydrated.
Mild cases may last only a few hours or days, but more serious types, such as botulism or certain forms of chemical or toxin poisoning, are severe and possibly life-threatening unless you get medical...
Shop safelyShop safely. Bag raw meat, poultry, and
fish separately from other food items. Young children can get sick from
touching packaged poultry, so don't allow them to touch or play with packages
of poultry in your grocery cart.
Store foods safelyStore foods safely. Cook, refrigerate,
or freeze meat, poultry, eggs, fish, and ready-to-eat foods within 2 hours.
Make sure your refrigerator is set at
40°F (4°C) or colder.
Cook foods safelyCook foods safely. Use a clean meat thermometer to
make sure that foods are cooked to a safe temperature. Reheat leftovers to
at least 165°F (74°C). Don't
eat undercooked hamburger. And be aware of the risk of food poisoning from raw
fish (including sushi), clams, and oysters.
When in doubt, throw it out. If you aren't sure if a food
is safe, don't eat it. Reheating food that is contaminated won't make it
safe. Don't taste suspicious food. It may smell and look fine but still may not
be safe to eat.
Make smart restaurant choices.
Note the general cleanliness of the facility and
staff. If you aren't confident that conditions are sanitary,
Restaurants are inspected by the local health department for
cleanliness and proper kitchen procedures. Find out the inspection scores of
selected restaurants. (They are sometimes posted in the restaurant.)
Find out if food safety training is regularly provided for
Many counties in the United States have extension services
listed in the phone book. These services can answer your questions about safe
home canning and food preparation.
To learn more, see Symptoms for a list of specific organisms.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
October 18, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this