When your food revolts...

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With a few simple steps, you can reduce your risk of food poisoning. 

Have you ever had food poisoning? Then you’ve experienced the agony: the cramps, the nausea, the diarrhoea and the vomitting.

Ugh! 

The most common causes of food poisoning are bacteria, followed by viruses, parasites, chemicals and toxins. These germs can infect food and beverages at any point in the food chain, from farm to fork. While you can’t do much about the handling of food before it reaches your local grocery store, you can halt the growth of bacteria and other microbes once you leave the store. 

The bacteria that commonly cause food poisoning – including Salmonella, Escherichia coli and Listeria – need a good growth medium, a neutral pH and warmth to flourish. A good growth medium is one that supplies organisms with plenty of protein. For this reason, raw or undercooked chicken and poultry, eggs and milk are often implicated in food-poisoning incidents. Foods with a low acid content are also risky business, and not keeping these foods cold is looking for trouble.

Take the following precautions to prevent food poisoning:

  • Check sell-by dates and buy only the freshest ingredients.
  • Get the food from the grocery store to your freezer as quickly as possible. Every minute counts.
  • Don’t eat foods that are past their use-by date and don’t eat anything that looks suspect.
  • Always wash fruit and vegetables before eating or cooking.
  • Be meticulous when working with raw meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, eggs and milk.
  • Prevent cross-contamination by using different cutting boards for meats and vegetables. 

  • Make sure that meat and milk dishes are always cooked right through.
  • Never eat anything from bulging or dented cans.
  • Never defrost raw food and then refreeze it. 
  • Never place food on tables ahead of time. Always take food out of the fridge just before serving.
  • Avoid home-bottled foods, particularly ones that don’t contain acid.
  • Don’t eat wild mushrooms unless you’re 100% sure they’re safe.
  • Take extra care when preparing pies and dishes that contain eggs.
  • Regularly put kitchen cloths and sponges in the microwave for 60 seconds, as this kills germs.
  • Never drink water that may be contaminated.


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