Statistics show that most of us will, at some point, come down with some type of foodborne illness in our lifetime. According to WebMD, 1 in 6 Americans contract a foodborne illness every year. Of those, “128,000 people are hospitalized, and 3,000 people die each year after eating tainted food.” Even though most cases of foodborne illness are not life threatening, it’s a good idea to try to avoid getting sick by following a few basic food safety practices. Read on to learn how to avoid food poisoning both at home and while dining out.
Food Safety At Home
Color-code your towels. Keeping the towels you use in different parts of the home is more hygienic and can prevent cross contamination. For example, you might use white towels in the kitchen, yellow towels in the bathroom, and orange towels for cleaning other parts of the home.
Wash your hands thoroughly with warm, soapy water before and after handling any food – particularly raw meats, fruits and vegetables.
Clean all produce – even organic. Fruits and vegetables can harbor dirt, pesticides, and even germs and viruses from other peoples’ hands. Fruits and vegetables that are eaten raw are especially important to clean well.
Disinfect tabletops and countertops with vinegar before and after eating or cooking.
Thoroughly wash all dishes in hot, soapy water. If you wash your dishes by hand, sanitize cutting boards and cooking utensils with vinegar as well.
Don’t leave leftovers sitting out after grocery shopping or serving a meal. Refrigerate and freeze foods right away.
Don’t thaw meat on the kitchen counter. Instead, use the refrigerator or cold running water. Use a meat thermometer when cooking to ensure that your food is cooked thoroughly.
Avoid Food Poisoning While Dining Out
Wash your hands (after you order!) You probably already wash your hands before eating at a restaurant – only to come back to the table to grab the very dirty and unwashed menu. Wash up after ordering to keep your hands clean.
Skip the lemon. While you might enjoy a slice of lemon in your water or tea, skip them when dining out. One study found that 75% of lemon wedges carry illness causing germs and bacteria. The truth is, restaurant staff are not always as hygienic in their food preparation as is ideal and it’s inevitable that someone’s unwashed hands will dip into the lemon wedge bin to garnish a drink – it just happens. Skip the lemons.
Give the booth a wipe down. Carry sanitizing wipes in your bag to give chairs and booths a quick once-over before you sit down. While the tables are washed between each party, sometimes the seating is skipped! You can avoid carrying home a lot of germs and pathogens on your clothing by using this tip.
Foodborne illness isn’t fun – follow these tips to stay safe and protect your family.
May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!