How to Handle Food Poisoning

Top Triggers and Food Prep Tips

Top Food Triggers

Common food-poisoning culprits include the following:

  • Raw or undercooked eggs
  • Salads mixed with homemade mayonnaise
  • Raw fruits, vegetables, meat, or poultry
  • Shrimp, oysters, clams, mussels, and scallops
  • Fresh cider and other unpasteurized fruit juices
  • Alfalfa and other kinds of sprouts
  • Unpasteurized milk and cheeses
  • Home-canned foods
  • Deli meats and hot dogs

Kitchen Tips

  • Make sure you and your kids wash your hands with warm, soapy water for 20 seconds before and after preparing food.
  • Never put food on a surface where raw meat or eggs have been.
  • Thaw meat, poultry, or fish on the bottom shelf of the fridge so contaminated juices won't drip onto other foods. Don't thaw foods on kitchen countertops -- warm temperatures encourage bacterial growth.
  • Rinse fruits and vegetables in warm, running tap water to remove visible dirt. Scrub with a brush if necessary.
  • Clean countertops with hot water and soap. Put cutting boards in the dishwasher.
  • Throw dishcloths in the laundry three times a week. Disinfect sponges in a bleach-and-water solution.

Cook It Right

Use a meat thermometer to make sure that meat and poultry are cooked to the correct internal temperature. Follow these steps to reduce the risk of illness.

Cook to: 145°F, medium-rare; 160°F, medium; 170°F, well-done
How it should look: Medium-rare or medium meat will be pink in the center. The outside of the meat should be dark, and juices should run clear.

Ground Beef
Cook to: 160°F
How it should look: The center of the burger is no longer pink, and drippings will run clear.

Cook to: 160°F, medium; 170°F,well-done
How it should look: When the thickest part of the meat is jabbed with a fork, juices will be clear

Cook to: 180°F, whole bird; 170°F, breasts; 180°F, dark meat
How it should look: When meat is tested with a fork, drippings will run clear; meat will not be pink.

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