Foodborne illness is not only a concern for retail food establishments, but for anyone cooking at home. Food poisoning (also known as foodborne illness or foodborne disease) is any illness that results from eating contaminated food.
Causes of Foodborne Illness
Harmful bacteria are the most common cause of food poisoning, but other causes include viruses, parasites, toxins, and contaminants. Learn more about causes & symptoms of foodborne illness of foodborne illness.
Prevention of Foodborne Illness
You can help prevent food poisoning from bacteria and viruses by following four simple steps when preparing food.
Wash hands and surfaces often. Bacteria can spread throughout the kitchen and get onto hands, cutting boards, utensils, counter tops, and food. Regularly washing hands and surfaces can help prevent bacteria from spreading. Do not handle food that is ready to eat with your bare hands.
Don’t cross-contaminate. Bacteria often can be spread from one thing to another when foods are not separated. Keep all prepared foods separated from raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs; even in the grocery cart, bag and refrigerator.
Cook food to the proper temperature. Food is safely cooked when it reaches a high enough internal temperature to kill bacteria that cause illness. Use a food thermometer to measure internal temperatures of cooked foods.
Refrigerate promptly. Refrigerate foods quickly because cold temperatures will slow down the growth of harmful bacteria. Always be sure to thaw all perishable food in the refrigerator, the microwave, or in cold water.
Learn more about these four basic steps for food safety.