It is the season for barbeques, weddings, family gatherings, and fun! Unless the food is handled safely, you may become sick from a foodborne illness, and that is NOT fun. Every year, thousands of people become ill from food that they eat, prepared by themselves, a family member, or a friend. Certain people are more vulnerable to foodborne illnesses. Pregnant women, young children, the elderly, and those who are immune-compromised by chronic disease treatments and health conditions, are the most at risk for serious illness. By following a few safe food handling steps, you can greatly reduce your risk of becoming ill from the food prepared at home.
Depending upon the specific foodborne illness, you may experience symptoms within one hour, or within a week or more. Usually, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, abdominal cramps, are experienced, but the specific microorganism will cause some or all, or other symptoms. A laboratory test taken by your physician will give more clues. Please see your doctor and drink water to hydrate, if you experience these symptoms, and call the health department when possible.
There are several ways to reduce your risk of foodborne illness. They involve preventing cross-contamination, observing proper cooking temperatures, hot holding temperatures, and cold holding temperatures, as well as practicing safe thawing of frozen food.