Avoid Food Poisoning with these 4 Easy Steps
No one wants to give their guests food poisoning during the holidays, and guests wouldn’t be too keen on the idea either. So, it pays to pay attention to a few principles of food handling safety. “Basically, food poisoning is ingesting food that has not been properly prepared or cooked.” Said Prince William Battalion Chief Curtis Brodie.
The United States Department of Agriculture’s food safety messages say people should remember these following rules: clean, separate, cook and chill.
- Clean cooking surfaces often, and wash your hands frequently. Always wash the preparation surface and your hands once you have finished preparing one food and before moving on to the next. This will reduce the likelihood of cross contamination of bacteria, and food allergens.
- Keep raw meat and unwashed foods away from cooked and prepped food. “One of the things that you want to emphasize is that you have an area for your raw meat, another area for unwashed foods, and then another area for plating and presenting all the dishes for the festive occasion,” Brodie said.
- Use a meat thermometer. It is important for meats to reach an internal temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit to kill germs and bacteria.
- Refrigerate leftovers within two hours. Food should be chilled to at least 40 degrees Fahrenheit as soon as possible after serving. Food that has been at room temperature for more than two hours should be discarded since you cannot tell if food is contaminated by its look, taste or smell. “When in doubt, throw it out,” suggests Brodie said.
There are roughly 250 food-borne diseases people can get from eating under-cooked food. The most common are Salmonella, E. coli, and Campylobacter, according to the Centers for Disease Control. According to the Food and Drug Administration, there are approximately 48 million cases of food borne illnesses in the United States annually.
Symptoms of food poisoning include abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. “We just want to make sure that when you’re handling food that you have an understanding that raw food can have some of these diseases.” Brodie said.
The young and the old are most susceptible to food poisoning and the most at risk of dehydration which can be quite dangerous, Brodie said. “Some of the individuals that are at a higher risk to food poisoning would be your elderly individuals, children, and people with any type of illness or chronic diseases.