How to prevent food poisoning
Food poisoning can happen at any time to any one, here’s a look at the symptoms and how you can try and keep food poisoning at bay. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control And Prevention state that an estimated 48 million people get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die each year from foodborne illnesses.
Symptoms of food poisoning
Food poisoning shows up as a range of symptoms such as stomach cramps, diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, nausea and vomiting. In rare cases, it could result in weakness, muscle aches, cramps and blood in the stools. Pregnant women, small children, seniors and those with a weak immune system are more susceptible to food poisoning.
The first reaction from all of us when we get food poisoning is to rewind and figure out what our last meal was. However, contrary to this popular belief, this could be a result of toxin build-up in the intestines for days and even months.
There’s a big myth that vegetarians don’t get food poisoning, but research shows that after examining 3,500 cases of food-related illness, it was produce that resulted in major numbers of individual food poisoning. Always rinse and wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly, especially the ones that can’t be peeled.
To maintain food safety, hot foods must be kept at temperatures above 140 degrees and cold foods need to be kept below 40 degrees. Avoid thawing meat on the counter, sometimes the outer surface may quickly reach above 40 degrees while the center stays frozen. Thaw it in the refrigerator or in a pan of cold water and keep changing the water every 30 minutes.
One more big myth that most of us carry around in our heads is that refrigerating food will prevent food poisoning. The fact is that it will slow down the growth of bacteria but not necessarily prevent food poisoning. It’s best to eat leftovers from your fridge within three to four days and when reheating, ensure that the internal temperature reaches at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit Also, it’s not necessary that leftovers that start smelling bad are the only ones that need to be discarded. Many types of bacteria that cause food poisoning may not in any way alter the look, smell or taste of food. Any perishable food that you have left out beyond two hours must be disposed of.
While preparing and handling food, always wash your hands well with soap before and after doing so. It’s best to keep separate cutting boards and plates for raw meat, poultry and seafood, this will help you prevent contaminating other foods. Always cook meat and seafood well.