How to Avoid Food Poisoning

Knowing the symptoms and prevention of food poisoning is more effective than getting treatment. Poisoning is due to eating food that is contaminated. Contamination may occur due to improper handling or preparation. Some food groups are more susceptible to poisoning than others.

Susceptible Food

These include prepared fruit salads, cooked pasta, cooked rice, seafood, hams, eggs, dairy products and meat. However, other food become vulnerable if handled incorrectly.

Causes

E. coli, Campylobacter, Salmonella and other pathogens are found in animals that produce food. Improper processing and serving can lead to contamination. Bacteria spread rapidly. A single bacterium can multiply to nearly 3 million in less than eight hours. Bacteria thrive in temperatures between 5C and 60C.

Signs of Poisoning

Indicators can vary from person to person. It also depends on what bacteria have affected the food, so symptoms can be mild or severe. Symptoms may manifest in a matter of hours or take five days to emerge. The most common signs are headaches, fever, vomiting, diarrhoea and stomach cramps. Nausea is also felt in most cases.

More severe symptoms may manifest. For example, the pathogenic Listeria bacteria can lead to meningitis or miscarriage. If the condition is not treated, it will lead to serious long term problems.

How to Protect Yourself

After you have studied symptoms and prevention of food poisoning, you can take measures to keep it from happening. If you are buying high-risk foods, do not store them in too hot / too cold temperatures. Separate cold and hot food. Never buy food that is close to the expiration date unless you plan to eat it immediately. Do not buy food in broken jars or containers, dented cans or torn plastic. Do not buy frozen foods that are not in a freezer.

For hot food lovers, buy only if they are steaming. Avoid buying eggs that are dirty or cracked. If the food is being prepared, be certain the serving staff use tongs and utensils when cooking. They should wear gloves when handling food. After shopping, store the food in the fridge or freezer immediately.

Food Preparation Tips

Always wash your hands in warm soapy water. Use separate cutting boards for food served raw and those that will be cooked. The average temperature of cooked food is 75 degrees Celsius, but this can vary. Use a cooking thermometer if possible. If you don’t have one, wait until the meat turns whitish. Sausages, burgers and roasts have to be prepared until their juices flow. White fish is cooked when they flake without resistance.

Food Storage Suggestions

Use separate locations for cooked and raw food. Keep raw food at your refrigerator’s bottom so its juices don’t drip on other food. The fridge temperature has to be below 5 C at the very least. The minimum freezer temperature is -15 C.

Cooked food has to cool to room temperature before it can be placed in a fridge. This is going to take a couple of hours. You can quicken the process by placing the food in separate containers. If you don’t do this, the temperature in a fridge will go up which may cause bacteria to emerge.

Once you know the symptoms and prevention of food poisoning, remember to cover food with plastic wrap, foil or lids. Follow all these steps and you won’t have to worry aboutbeing poisoned.

Jenny Richards is a free lancer writer and content builder of many sites.