Did you know that up to 24 million cases of foodborne illnesses are reported in the U.S. each year? This is a figure that swells to more than 80 million unreported, untreated or misdiagnosed cases are included. That's one in 6 Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Despite these alarming statistics, foodborne illnesses don't have to be a part of your meal plan.
You can still enjoy popular party foods like mayonnaise-based salads, chicken, pork and dairy products, which also are the most common vehicles for salmonellosis, trichinosis and other forms of food poisoning.The key is to handle, prepare and store foods properly to minimize exposure to bacteria and maximize freshness, quality and shelf-life.
Here are some tips to prevent food poisoning: Refrigerate or freeze groceries immediately upon returning home. Don't leave perishable items sitting on the counter.Wash hands with soap and water thoroughly when handling leftovers before, during and after food preparation — this is an easy way to stick to healthful eating.To stick to a healthy diet, wash fruits and vegetables under the tap, using a vegetable brush for tough-skinned items like potatoes, apples and celery.Keep raw meats separate from other foods, both on the kitchen counter and in the refrigerator. Wash marble or acrylic cutting boards, knives and counters often. Avoid wooden cutting boards as they more readily harbor bacteria.Thaw food in the refrigerator, microwave or in a sink filled with cold water that is changed every half hour. Do not refreeze thawed food.Avoid using the same spoon for stirring and tasting.Divide cooked leftovers into small, shallow containers and immediately refrigerate or freeze. If stored in the refrigerator, use within three or four days and reheat thoroughly.If in doubt, throw it out. There's no reason to take a chance with your diet plan (or your health) by getting sick.