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What are foodborne infections?
Foodborne infections are illnesses that occur after ingestion of contaminated food. These illnesses are caused by germs which are contained in or on the food.
What are the symptoms of foodborne infections?
Symptoms may include one or more of the following: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever, chills, headache, weakness, sweating, fatigue or muscle aches.
How long does it take to get sick?
It depends on the kind of germ. The range is from 1 hour to 4 days, but can be as long as one month with hepatitis A.
How does the food become contaminated?
- improper handling, preparation or storage of food
- improper cleaning
- exposure of seafood to sewage
What kinds of germs are in food?
The illness may be caused by bacteria or their toxins such as Staphylococcus, Bacillus, Salmonella, Shigella, or Campylobacter; viruses such as Hepatitis A, or Norwalk-like viruses; or parasites.
Safe Food Handling for your Personal Safety
At the store
Never leave meat, poultry, seafood, eggs and other perishable foods in a hot car. Head straight home to the refrigerator and freezer or take a cooler along.
In your refrigerator
- Don't let juices from raw meat, poultry or seafood drip on other foods. Store on bottom shelf in refrigerator, or on a plate that will contain juices.
- Keep the refrigerator at 40 degrees (F) or lower and freezer at 0 degrees (F).At your kitchen counter Always wash hands with soap and water for at least 10 seconds before preparing food and also after handling raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs.
- Wash counter tops, cutting boards, knives, sink and faucet handle with hot soapy water right after preparing food, especially after handling raw meat, poultry, eggs, and seafood.
- Don't let raw meat, poultry and seafood and their juices touch cooked food or food eaten raw.
- Never put cooked food on a plate that first held raw meat, poultry or seafood.
- Always thaw food in the refrigerator, never on the kitchen counter. If you thaw in the microwave, cook it immediately.
- For meat, poultry, seafood and eggs, use a cutting board made of impermeable plastic, rather than wood.
Ready to cook?
- Cook food thoroughly, ground meats to at least 160 degrees (F) or until juices are clear whole poultry to 180 degrees (F), seafood to 145 degrees (F).
- Cook eggs until the white and yolk are firm.
Ready to serve?
- Hold hot food above 140 degrees (F) and cold food below 40 degrees (F).
- Never leave prepared and perishable foods at room temperature longer than two hours.
- Use small, shallow containers for quick cooling in the refrigerator.
- Reheat leftovers thoroughly to 165 degrees (F).
Used with permission. Visit the APIC Website
page last modified on: 5/7/2013