Food poisoning is a general term for health problems arising from eating contaminated food. Food may be contaminated by microorganisms, such as bacteria and viruses. Environmental toxins, or toxins present within the food itself, such as the poisons in some mushrooms or certain types of seafood, can also result in food poisoning. Symptoms usually include nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea. Some toxins also can affect the nervous system.
Individual and Group Safety Information
The following are suggestions to minimize the chances of food poisoning:
- Wash your hands often.
- Wash utensils and food surfaces frequently.
- Separate raw foods from ready-to-eat foods
- Separate your meat and poultry products.
- Use one plate for raw meats and a separate plate after the meat is cooked.
- Cook foods thoroughly and at a safe temperature.
- Refrigerate or freeze perishable foods promptly.
- Throw out leftovers that have been at room temperature for more than two hours. Throw out leftovers that have been in hot weather for more than an hour.
- Keep in mind that food poisoning can be life threatening for young children, pregnant women and their fetuses, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems.
Above all -- when in doubt, throw it out!