Each year, the Center for Disease Control estimates that one out of six Americans gets sick by consuming contaminated foods or beverages. In Virginia, the most frequently reported gastrointestinal diseases include bacterial infections such as salmonellosis and campylobacteriosis, and giardiasis, a parasitic disease. In addition, norovirus is one of the most frequently reported causes of gastrointestinal outbreaks. Typical symptoms of foodborne illness are vomiting, diarrhea, and flu-like symptoms, which can start anywhere from hours to days after contaminated food or drinks are consumed.
Many people celebrate the holidays with family, friends, and coworkers during the holidays and food is usually a significant part of those celebrations. The proper handling and preparation of food is important in preventing foodborne illnesses. Most foodborne illnesses result from food being contaminated when it is being prepared or served.
When preparing meals remember to follow these safety tips:
Clean Wash hands, cutting boards, utensils, and countertops.
Separate Keep raw meat, poultry, and seafood separate from ready-to-eat foods.
Cook Use a food thermometer to ensure that foods are cooked to a safe internal temperature: 145°F for whole meats (allowing the meat to rest for 3 minutes before carving or consuming), 160°F for ground meats, and 165°F for all poultry.
Chill Keep your refrigerator below 40°F, and refrigerate food that will spoil.
When transporting food, it is important to remember that harmful bacteria can start to grow when prepared food falls between temperatures of 40 and 140 °F (4.4 °C and 60 °C); perishable food transported without an ice or heat source won't stay safe long. It is important to properly store and refrigerate leftovers.
Keep in mind the following when storing and eating leftovers:
For additional food safety tips and information, visit: