BACTERIA MULTIPLIES - Food poisoning is caused by bacteria, which can grow and multiply on food when the food is handled in a place that is not clean, when it is stored or cooked improperly, or in some cases, when it is eaten raw. These bacteria make the food go "bad," and will make people sick if they eat the contaminated food.
IMMEDIATE MEDICAL CARE - Age and health status can affect how sick a person becomes, or how long food illness lasts; young children, seniors and those in poor health are at highest risk. It is important that you inform your family doctor if you suspect you are suffering from food poisoning, especially if the symptoms (usually nausea, vomiting and diarrhea) seem serious. See a doctor for advise.
HANDLE FOOD WITH CARE - To protect yourself and your family from possible food poisoning, always choose, store, handle and prepare food with care.
The two most important points to remember in order to avoid food poisoning are:
1) handle food in ways that will keep it from being exposed to bacteria, and
2) kill bacteria by heating or cooling food; bacteria thrive in room temperature. Avoid keeping foods in the Danger Zone - the unsafe temperatures between 40-140 degrees Fahrenheit.
CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN -- You can't see, taste, or smell them. They're sneaky little critters, and they can spread throughout the kitchen and get onto cutting boards, utensils, sponges, countertops and food. They're food-borne bacteria - and if eaten, they can cause food-borne illness. So on your mark, get set, go...clean!
Thoroughly wash hands with warm, soapy water, rinse well and dry with clean towels before and after food preparation. Cover cuts or sores on your hands and/or use plastic gloves.
Avoid using wood cutting boards. Thoroughly wash cutting boards with warm soapy water, rinse with hot water, then disinfect with weak bleach solution (1 teaspoon chlorine bleach in 1 quart of water and rinse again.
Wash fresh fruits and vegetables with water - keep a special brush handy for this. Using a kitchen disinfectant cleaner or a mixture of bleach and water on surfaces can provide some added protection against bacteria. Wash out lunchboxes or totes every night. Wipe up spills immediately.
SPECIAL REFRIGERATOR CARE - Clean refrigerator surfaces with hot, soapy water. Periodically check temperatures in the refrigerator and freezer to be sure they are correct: Refrigerator 40 ?F (5?C) Freezer 0 ?F (-18 ?C).
RAW, FROZEN, THAWED - Take your groceries directly home after shopping, and promptly store all cold items. Store eggs in the original container in the main section (not in the door) of the refrigerator.
Thaw meat, poultry and seafood in the refrigerator or microwave oven. Do not leave on the counter at room temperature. Promptly cook thawed foods.
Strictly follow recommended cooking times. Thoroughly cook ground meat and poultry so that no redness remains and juices run clear. Avoid eating raw clams and oysters and undercooked meats and poultry. Avoid consuming raw or undercooked eggs. Cook eggs until both the white and yolk are firm and not runny.
LOOK AFTER LEFTOVERS - Thoroughly reheat to boiling previously prepared food. Promptly refrigerate leftover foods in sealed containers. Maintain proper temperatures for all food while serving, especially during the warmer months.
As a rule, "keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold" and do not allow either to be out longer than two hours.
Do not eat any food that has been unrefrigerated for more than two hours. Another golden rule: "When in doubt, throw it out."
If any food looks or smells unusual, do not eat it or give it to your pets. They can become sick also. Contamination may be present and may not yet be detectable by just looking at it or smelling it.