Tips For Avoiding Foodborne Illness

By Heide Kennedy, Arizona Farm Bureau Communications Intern

There is nothing worse than eating and enjoying food during a meal and then feeling awful a few hours later. Whether it just be a stomachache, or something a little more intense like throwing up, getting food poisoning is never ever fun. Often, foodborne illnesses can be prevented as long as the preparer of the food is careful during cooking. The following are some tips to help make sure that your foods are well-prepared in order to avoid potential food poisoning.

Registered dietician Mary Cherne Schoenfelder advises that those preparing foods follow these tips to ensure that the foods are prepared as safely as possible because it’s not worth the risk of getting yourself or others sick.

Use a food thermometer

Schoenfelder notes that using a thermometer when cooking foods, especially meats, is important to make sure that they have reached their proper internal temperature and that they are fully cooked. She says that chicken and turkey should reach a temperature of at least 165 degrees, while beef, pork, lamb, and bison should reach at least 145 degrees.

Store foods properly

The way that you store your food also matters too. To put it simply, foods should be kept out of the temperature range of 40 to 140 degrees. Schoenfelder says that it is within this range that bacteria thrive and grow. She also notes that it is important for the food containers to be completely sealed.

Don’t eat raw foods

While it is always tempting to lick the beaters or nibble on cookie dough, doing so could expose you to bacteria that could lead to a foodborne illness. Schoenfelder says that raw eggs and even flour need to be cooked thoroughly to kill off any germs and avoid illness.

Wash your hands

This one is very basic, but very important. Since your hands are what is preparing the food, it is vital that they be clean to avoid transferring germs that may be on your skin into the foods that you’re cooking. So, lather up with some soap and warm water and reduce the risk of contaminating your foods!

Keeping yourself and others healthy when it comes to foodborne illness is actually very easy as long as you take the proper precautions. Follow these tips next time you’re in the kitchen and prepare safe, delicious foods!

For more health related articles, check out the Fill Your Plate blog!

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