Simple Tips to Avoid Food Poisoning
Food Poisoning: most everyone’s had it – whether or not you know it – and no one enjoys it. With warm temperatures and an increase in outdoor and recreational food-related activities comes an increased risk of being exposed to food-borne pathogens. Symptoms of food poisoning may be immediate or come full force up to 3 days later! Common symptoms are vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, tingling in the extremities, dizziness, blood or pus in the stools, fever, and/or abdominal pain and cramping – sometimes lasting for more than 24 hours. That “24-hour flu” is often mis-diagnosed food poisoning. Below are some tips to keep your food safe and reduce the risk of exposure to yourself and loved ones:
- Cook food thoroughly – this will significantly reduce your risk of food borne illness!
- Eat cooked foods immediately – the longer it sits out, the sketchier it gets.
- Reheat cooked foods thoroughly – microbes can begin spawning in storage and insufficient heating will not destroy them.
- Avoid contact between raw foods and cooked foods – use seperate cutting boards and store raw and thawing meats on the bottom shelves of the fridge.
- Wash hands often – with real soap and water! Studies show antibacterial gels don’t kill all germs and can possibly encourage stronger strains to develop.
- Keep all kitchen surfaces meticulously clean – don’t give pathogens a place to stay!
- Keep cold food cold (41 degrees or colder) and hot food hot (140 degrees or warmer) – if feeding infants or immunosuppressed individuals it is best not to store food at all, but to use food immediately.
- When attending a picnic or other potluck activity avoid foods with eggs, dairy, or potentially undercooked meats and prepare something that contains less risky ingredients unless they have been properly stored. (Try the recipe below!)