The Food and Drug Administration defines foodborne illness as a sickness that occurs when people eat or drink harmful microorganisms (such as bacteria, parasites, viruses) or chemical contaminants found in foods or drinking water. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 76 million people in the United States suffer from a foodborne illness each year, with the most susceptible being young children, older adults, pregnant women, and individuals with a compromised immune system.
You can help reduce the risk of contracting foodborne illness at home by taking a few simple precautions. Below is a list of helpful definitions, identifiers, and practical tips to make your kitchen safe and food friendly.
It depends on which type of foodborne illness you’ve contracted, but common symptoms include (but are not limited to) nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, aches, dehydration, and fever.
Again, it depends on the type of foodborne illness, but symptoms can appear in as little as 1 hour or up to a week or more. The best thing to do is to contact your health care provider if you suspect the onset of foodborne illness.
Many times, the outer appearance of food doesn’t change, even when bacteria is multiplying within! The key to stopping growth is to fully cook or reheat the food. Refrigeration and freezing will slow, but not prevent, the growth of harmful bacteria.
At home, it’s crucial to keep food out of the “danger zone” where bacteria multiply most rapidly. Bacteria grow best at temperatures above 40 ° F and below 140° F, so to keep you and your family safe, be sure to keep your refrigerator set to 40 ° F or lower and cook foods to 140° F or higher.
Remember the 4 step method- Clean, Separate, Cook, Chill.
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