Health Tips: Food Poisoning Information

Instructions on how to prevent illness from foods, ideas about bacteria, viruses and parasites whch will help you be informed.

Foods borne illnesses are very common and can be easily prevented using proper care and handling of food products. Bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses can cause food poisoning. The most common cause is bacteria. Some of the more commonly found bacteria are Listeria monocytogenes, Vibrio parahaemolyticus, Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella, and E-coli. These and others are often times found on raw foods but are usually destroyed with proper cooking. There has to be a large amount of bacteria present to cause illness. That is why it's best to keep foods stored in a refrigerator at cold enough temperatures to prevent the growth of more bacteria. If foods are left at room temperature or are kept too warm the bacteria can multiply and cause illness.

Another way that food poisonings can occur is from cross contamination. This occurs when someone handles raw meat and then doesn't wash their hands and then handles food that is already cooked or other foods like salads that are served cold. This will then cause the bacteria to be present on the other foods that will be consumed and then cause food poisoning.

Eating undercooked poultry and other meats can pass salmonella. It can also be passed from person to person. This occurs when a person who happens to be carrying Salmonella uses the restroom and doesn't properly wash their hands before going to prepare food. They then pass the bacteria on to the food that will be consumed by someone else resulting in food poisoning.

E-coli is a naturally occurring bacterium that exists in the intestinal tract. While it's in there it's harmless. If consumed, it can make a person very ill and can even cause death. Making sure that hands are clean after contact with animals or fecal matter is extremely important.

Hand washing is the best way to prevent cross contamination and food poisoning. Most people don't wash their hands long enough to kill all bacteria from their hands. A person should lather up their hands with anti-microbial soap for at least 20 seconds before rinsing.

Preventing the bacteria from multiplying is very important. Keeping hot foods hot (over 140 degrees F) and cold foods cold (under40 degrees F) will prevent this from happening. If food is accidentally left out at room temperature discard it. It's better to waste food than to end up sick.

Ways to prevent food poisoning are to make sure that all foods are cooked to their proper temperature to be sure all parasites and bacteria are killed. Washing hands and all utensils and surfaces that have come in contact with raw meats. Heat all canned and precooked foods before eating. When refrigerating a large amount of food that is still hot, put the food in smaller containers so the food cools down quicker and to prevent the large container of hot food from heating up the refrigerator. This can cause the temperature to rise above 40 degrees F and cause other foods to grow dangerous bacteria. When canning foods, make sure you prepare them properly to prevent them from becoming contaminated. Never eat foods from bulging dented or rusted cans.

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