How can I avoid food poisoning?
A few simple precautions can reduce the risk of food-borne diseases:
- Cook: Cook meat, poultry and eggs thoroughly. Use a food thermometer to measure the internal temperature of meat to be sure it's cooked sufficiently to kill bacteria. For example, ground beef should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees F. Eggs should be cooked until the yolk is firm.
- Separate: Don't cross-contaminate one food with another. Avoid cross-contamination by washing hands, utensils and cutting boards after they've been in contact with raw meat or poultry and before they touch other foods. Put cooked meat on a clean platter, rather back on one that held the raw meat.
- Chill: Refrigerate leftovers promptly. Bacteria can grow quickly at room temperature, so refrigerate leftover foods if they won't be eaten within four hours. Large volumes of food will cool more quickly if they are divided into several shallow containers for refrigeration.
- Clean: Wash produce in running tap water to remove visible dirt and grime. Discard the outermost leaves of a head of lettuce or cabbage. Be careful to avoid contamination when cutting produce on a cutting board, and once cut, don't leave them sitting at room temperature for long.
Make sure you wash your hands with soap and water before preparing food. Avoid preparing food for others if you have a diarrheal illness. Changing a baby's diaper while preparing food is a bad idea that can easily spread illness.