9 Ways to Prevent Food Poisoning

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Stay safe at home

Foodborne illnesses caused by strains of bacteria, such as salmonella and E. coli, as well as parasites, toxins, and viruses sicken millions of people and cause 128,000 hospitalizations in the U.S. each year. Here are some helpful tips for preventing them.

  1. Wash your hands

Scrub thoroughly with soap and water before, during, and after cooking, after using the bathroom, and any time you’re in contact with someone who is ill.

  1. Rinse fresh fruits and vegetables

Run cold water over fruits and vegetables before eating them. There’s no need, however, to rinse or wash meat or poultry before cooking.

  1. Keep food cold

Marinate and defrost foods in the refrigerator, not on the kitchen counter, to prevent the growth of bacteria.

  1. Cook meat, poultry, and eggs thoroughly

Adequately cooking food kills bacteria. Avoid raw eggs, meat, poultry, and sprouts, as well as unpasteurized milk and juices.

  1. Use separate cutting boards and utensils

Separate raw meat and poultry to avoid contaminating other foods. In addition, keep raw, cooked, and ready-to-eat foods separate while shopping and when storing them.

  1. Clean your kitchen counters and sink

Use disinfectant after preparing food. You can disinfect by using a mixture of ¼ cup of bleach per 1 gallon of clean water.

  1. Wash sponges in the dishwasher

Do this every two days and discard when they start to smell. Sponges are breeding grounds for bacteria.

  1. Refrigerate all cooked items

That will help prevent the growth of bacteria. If you have large amounts of food, separate them into shallow containers so they’ll cool faster in the refrigerator.

  1. Pay attention to news reports

Heed warnings about problems with contaminated foods. Temporarily avoid eating those foods until the contamination risk has passed. Following food safety suggestions is even more important if your immune system has been weakened by diseases such as cancer or HIV.