How to Prevent Food Poisoning
Avoid Food Poisoning
- 1). Wash your hands thoroughly before handling any food products. This is especially important if you have been handling live or organic matter, such as pets or pet waste.
- 2). Ensure all cutting boards, knives, cooking utensils and surfaces that your food will come into contact with have been thoroughly sterilized with antibacterial soap prior to use.
- 3). Wash all raw fruits and vegetables before you eat them. Bear in mind that alfalfa sprouts, in particular, can be difficult to clean thoroughly. It is best to buy them in ready-to-eat form, if possible.
- 4). Ensure that any food coming from an animal source (meat, eggs, dairy) has been pasteurized or thoroughly cooked all the way through before consumption. If a restaurant serves you undercooked meat or eggs, send it back and make sure your corrected order comes on a new plate.
- 5). Thaw foods in the refrigerator, not at room temperature. Do not let animal-based foods (meat, eggs, dairy) sit at room temperature for an extended period, cooked or not.
- 6). Refrigerate leftovers promptly. To prevent the possibility of infection, thoroughly re-heat all leftovers before you eat them.
- 7). Exercise caution when selecting and preparing fish and shellfish products. Choose the freshest possible products when purchasing them, and make sure to follow cooking directions to their fullest. Fish can be a source of some of the most dangerous types of food poisoning.
- 8). Prevent the drippings, juices or blood of meat products from coming into contact with other foods. Understand safe meat storage practices. Meat from different sources (such as chicken, beef and pork) should not be stored atop or even directly beside one-another. Keep the chicken with the chicken, the beef with the beef and the pork with the pork, in separate storage areas.
- 9). Understand safe home-canning procedures if you want to make your own jams, jellies, pickles or other canned goods. Contact the U.S. Department of Agriculture for a detailed outline of safe canning procedures (see Resources below).
Read the label. Proper storage instructions will be included. Follow them exactly. Check expiration dates both before you buy and before you eat, particularly when dealing with meat products.