How to Prevent Getting Sick From Your Food
Food poisoning, or food-borne illness, is incredibly common but also incredibly miserable which you’d know if you’ve ever experienced it. Not all forms of it are completely avoidable, but a lot of it. Currently 9 million Americans each year get some form of food-borne illness, take these steps to ensure that you’re not one of them.
If you’re cooking or barbecuing at home then you’re probably used to handling raw meats, poultry, and eggs. The last thing that you want to do is get lax about carefully washing your hands and any utensils that took part in the process.
Half of all E. Coli cases from beef products. Ground beef is particularly high risk because packages of the stuff mix together the meet from more than one animal. To ensure that your beef is cooked enough that any existing E. Coli would be gone, use a thermometer to see when it has reached 165 degrees fahrenheit.
That cantaloupe seems pretty guilt free on a lot of levels, but fruits and vegetables can easily pass along Listeria if they aren’t washed properly. What happens is that when they are sliced up, anything that was on the rind or peel gets pushed into the part that you’re about to eat. So much of fruits and vegetables are eaten raw, so you can see where the issue is.
Fruits and vegetables with soft skins are also a risk, but since you definitely eat the skin on those guys washing isn’t the only necessary preventative measure. Make sure there is no visible mold on them, because if mold had the ability to grow than other pathogens could of as well.
This is actually an important tip for any type of meat, but especially chicken which is a common source of salmonella. When chicken is defrosted at room temperature the bacteria will breed faster, making it more likely that you might get sick from it. Thawing meat in the refrigerator requires a little planning ahead, but it’s worth it.
It’s a real bummer than eggs are responsible for 12 percent of salmonella cases because eating raw cookie dough and licking the cake spoon are incomparable experiences. Also, runny eggs. If you like your breakfast egg meal a little underdone you should consider buying pasteurized eggs which have been heat-treated before they were shipped out. This should cut down on some of the risk.
If you’re a big seafood man then you’re probably not going to give up eating raw fish or clams even though the only real way to prevent illness is from cooking them. What you can do to revamp your ceviche plans, is purchase fish from a reputable fish market as opposed to trusting mass retailers. At a restaurant you’ll just have to leave it up to fate.
About Kate Ferguson Kate Fergus is a Los Angeles local and freelance writer for a variety of blogs and online magazines. When she's not writing, the UC Davis graduate is focused on pursuits of the entertainment industry, spin class, and hot sauce.