Food related illnesses and diseases impact millions of Americans across the nation, resulting in hospitalizations and thousands of deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While some of these cases of foodborne illness are isolated incidents, others are part of local, regional, and national outbreaks in which the CDC is deeply involved to ensure public health and safety.
Fortunately, physicians and other medical professionals can help combat symptoms of most foodborne illnesses. The reality, though, is that no one should have to suffer the symptoms of food poisoning. In today’s increasingly interconnected world, germs and pathogens spread quickly, which emphasizes the importance of knowing how to prevent foodborne illness.
Food Safety Tips for Your Home
Safeguarding your home and your family from food poisoning doesn’t begin at home. It actually begins at the grocery store. When you’re shopping, you can prevent food poisoning by remembering these tips:
Check for cleanliness. When it comes to shopping markets and other food establishments, it may behoove you to judge a book by its cover. In other words, does the facility look and smell clean? If it looks and smells dirty, it probably is dirty. However, be sure not to confuse cleanliness with the “age” or décor of the building itself.
Separate your foods. When purchasing raw meat, poultry, and seafood, request that the items be bagged separately from other foods. If any of these raw meats are contaminated, their juices could potentially contaminate the other items during check out and the trip home. Separating your foods will prevent cross-contamination.
Beware of bulging cans and jars. If a canned good is bulging or dented, don’t purchase it. Loose lids allow air to seep in, which gives bacteria opportunity to grow. Furthermore, bulging cans mean that pressure is building within. This is a telltale sign that bacteria are inside, producing gas that is expanding.
Pay attention to temperature and time. Whether the commute from the store to your home is short or long, be mindful of the perishable products you just purchased. Harmful bacteria can multiply quickly if your products are exposed to “danger zone” temperatures before proper storage.
Examine your eggs. Be sure to open the carton and examine the package for any cracked or damaged eggs. Refrigerate them and follow any special instructions on the label.
Safe Cooking and Food Handling
By following these tips, you’ll be much more likely to prevent unwanted bacteria and pathogens from entering your home. No matter how conscentious you are, however, it’s impossible to completely eliminate unwanted germs from your life. This stresses the importance of healthy hygiene habits and proper cooking techniques at home.
For instance, consider using a meat thermometer to ensure that your meals, particularly the meats, are thoroughly cooked. Properly cooking meats will eliminate the most harmful bacteria, should they be contaminated. Remember to wash your hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds before handling fruits and vegetables. Also use different utensils and cutting boards to keep your meats and vegetables separate, which prevents cross-contamination.
Do you need to defrost your meats? Consider allowing frozen meat to thaw on a plate or similar platter. Simply placing the meat on the counter can contaminate the counter, if there are any unwanted bacteria on it. If you have to marinate foods, be sure to do so in the refrigerator, where temperatures will be cool enough to discourage the growth of harmful bacteria. With so many things in your refrigerator, it’s also important to clean it out every 3-4 months, discarding expired foods and disinfecting the shelves and drawers.
At Ron Simon & Associates, we understand that your health and well-being, as well as that of your family are of the utmost importance to you. This is why Ron publishes the latest news and information on food poisoning in the United States. Readers from over 180 countries enjoy the useful information and tips Ron provides online. Over his 20-year career, he has helped food poisoning victims recover over $600,000,000.
The National Trial Lawyers Association has even recognized Ron’s work, naming him one of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers in the nation. Ron was also voted a “Texas Super Lawyer” by his peers.