Avoid Food Poisoning 101


It’s where you cook your meals, you might think the only dangerous thing about it is the kitchen knives and stove. Although these are pretty good guesses, did you know that over 3000 people die in the US alone each year from foodborne infections? Check out this list of ways to avoid getting sick from your food. Below that is a list of some of the most common (and most deadly) foodborne infections.

  • Wash hands before and after meals.
  • Keep kitchen and dining areas clean.
    • Wash all fruits and vegetables.
    • Sanitize preparation areas and inside appliances if possible.
    • Keep silverware and utensils clean and dry.
    • Do not use hands in preparation when possible, only utensils.
  • Do not cross contaminate.
    • Keep foods in separate containers
    • Use separate cutting boards for meats and vegetables.
    • Wash all surfaces that have been in contact with ingredients before using.
    • Do not re-use marinades.
  • Keep hot foods at high temperatures.
    • The thermometer must be used to indicate if a meat is thoroughly cooked at 140 degrees F internally.
    • Poultry and leftovers must be heated to 165 degrees F and over internally to be safe.
  • Keep cold foods at cold temperatures.
    • Refrigerated foods must stay below 40 degrees F in order to stay safe.
    • No foods should be left out for more than two hours between the temperatures 40 and 140 degrees F
  • Only use pasteurized milk products.

The most common foodborne infection is that of the Norovirus. The Norovirus causes a condition called gastroenteritis, it passes person-to-person and can be contracted through raw foods, salads, and sandwiches. The onset is 1 to 2 days. Symptoms include; vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pains. This can last 1 to 2 days.

Salmonella is the most deadly foodborne infection, like norovirus, it’s common. It’s caused by more than 2000 types of the bacteria Salmonella bacteria. The disease can be contracted from raw or undercooked eggs, meats, poultry, raw milk and other dairy products, shrimp, frog legs, yeast, coconut, pasta, and chocolate. The onset of this infection is between 1 to 3 days. Symptoms include fever, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea; lasts 4 to 7 days; can be fatal.

Also common is E. coli infection. This is caused by Escherichia coli b bacterium. Caused by undercooked ground beef, unpasteurized milk and juices, raw fruits and vegetables, contaminated water, and is spread by person-to-person contact. Onset can be between 1 to 8 days. Severe bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramps, vomiting are all symptoms. The infection lasts 5 to 10 days.

Less commonly is Yersiniosis, caused by Yersinia enterocolitica bacterium. Can be contracted from raw and undercooked pork, and unpasteurized milk. The onset is 1 to 2 days. Some symptoms are diarrhea, vomiting, fever, abdominal pain, this lasts 1 to 3 weeks.

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