(WellnessPursuits.com) – Food poisoning is usually caused by contamination with bacteria, parasites and viruses. Although this might seem unavoidable, none of us really have any desire to deal with the symptoms that come with it. Diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain are some of the most common symptoms. When it comes to food poisoning, the best defense is a good offense – avoiding it altogether.
So what can you do? Here are five helpful tips:
1. Wash Your Hands Well And Often
Although it might seem obvious, washing your hands is another way to stop the spread of germs to food. Believe it or not, many of us don’t wash properly after using the bathroom or touching meat, which can increase the chances of illness. Humming the “Happy Birthday” song while washing your hands is a great way to make sure you’ve spent enough time cleaning them.
2. Thoroughly Rinse Your Produce
Fresh produce can be so healthy for us, but not if they’re carrying a host of really nasty bugs. Even organic produce is not necessarily safe. There’s no way to tell if the produce has been contaminated, either during picking or while in the store. You don’t know who has handled your produce and how clean their hands were. When rinsing, use cold water and make sure all the multi-parts of the produce (leaves, stems, florets etc.) have had an ample share of rinsing.
3. Make Sure Meats are Well-Cooked
Proper cooking temperatures are key when it comes to killing bacteria, so it’s important to know what temperatures to use. An internal thermometer will ensure your meats have been cooked safely. If something doesn’t look done, put it back in the oven for everyone’s safety.
4. Check Your Food When Eating Out
Before chowing down in a restaurant, check your meat to ensure it’s cooked properly. Pork, chicken, sausages and burgers shouldn’t be pink in the middle. Eggs shouldn’t be runny. Not happy with what you’ve received? Ask the waiter to send the food back so it can be cooked correctly.
5. Pay Attention to Smell
Smell can present an obvious giveaway when you’re pulling the foods out of the refrigerator. If you notice the meat, eggs or other foods you plan on cooking have a rotten or even just an “off” smell, it’s time to throw it away. While this might seem wasteful, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
6. Throw Away if Not Refrigerated
If you accidentally left food out after dinner and are wondering if it is worth saving, figure out how long it has been sitting out for. A common rule of thumb is to throw out anything that has been sitting out for longer than two hours, especially if it was cooked at 90 degrees or higher.
The prospect of getting food poisoning may seem overwhelming, but it’s more often than not avoidable if you follow basic food safety rules. By cooking at the right temperature, paying attention to the appearance and smell of food, and throwing away when necessary, the chances of suffering with food poisoning can be greatly limited.
~Here’s to Your Healthy Pursuits
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