5 Things to Do to Protect Yourself from Foodborne Illnesses


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Foodborne disease affects about 48 million people in the United States every year. While most people who contract a foodborne illness recover quickly, such illnesses can lead to further complications that require hospitalization. Furthermore, foodborne illnesses are blamed for three thousands deaths every year. The following five (5) tips can minimize the risk of catching a pathogen when you prepare, cook and eat food at home.

1)  Wash Your Hands

Wash your hands before you begin preparing food and after handling raw meat.

2)  Wash Your Food

Wash all fruits and vegetables before eating them. Fresh produce may look clean at the supermarket but may have poisonous chemicals on the exterior that could cause illness.

3)  Eat Leftovers Promptly

If you cannot eat leftovers within three or four days, put them in the freezer. Food that has been left in the refrigerator for too long may contain harmful bacteria that could cause food poisoning.

4)  Use a Meat Thermometer to Ensure the Right Temperature

It can be hard to tell if a whole chicken, meat loaf or turkey is fully cooked, which is why you should always check the dish with a meat thermometer. If the temperature reaches 165F, the dish is fully cooked. Be sure to also use a thermometer when reheating leftover food to ensure that it is fully reheated to kill any harmful bacteria.

5)  Wash Utensils and Surfaces with Hot, Soapy Water

When food prep is done, wash all utensils and surfaces with hot, soapy water. Wash the table rag thoroughly after it has been used to wipe blood off a counter and never rinse a table rag in the dish basin.

Thankfully, it is possible to avoid foodborne disease. Proper food prep and storage, combined with a high standard of cleanliness, will protect you and those you love from foodborne illnesses.

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