Food poisoning is almost completely preventable by following a few rules from the National Institutes of Health and the Partnership for Food Safety Education:
- Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with warm soapy water before and after handling food, and after using the restroom.
- Wash fruits and vegetables–using a vegetable brush, if possible. This includes the outside of melons as we can easily introduce disease-causing bacteria as we slice into a watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, or any melon.
- Avoid undercooked seafood, meats, and eggs. For safe cooking temperatures, check with your local University of Wyoming Extension office, or go to the Partnership for Food Safety Education website, www.foodsafety.gov/keep/charts/mintemp.html.
- Keep raw meat, poultry, seafood and their juices away from contaminating other foods.
- Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Promptly refrigerate foods that can spoil.
- Use only pasteurized dairy foods including pasteurized eggs and egg products. If eggs are NOT pasteurized, they need to be completely cooked, no uncooked eggs. Salmonella can be found even in free range chicken eggs!
- Report suspected foodborne illness to your local health department to help officials identify and stop potential outbreaks (www.foodsafety.gov/report/poisoning/).