Commonly known as food poisoning or food infection, foodborne illness is a result of ingesting contaminated water and food. Until now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified more than 250 different foodborne illnesses, accounting for 128,000 hospitalizations and 3000 fatalities every year. The majority of foodborne illness outbreaks are caused by biological contaminants like parasites, viruses, and bacteria.
Preventing the occurrence of a foodborne illness is an important part of the food producer or handler’s safety training. The person must religiously follow food safety and hygiene practices to minimize the risk of food poisoning while promoting sustainability. To help you, we have created the ultimate guide on how to prevent foodborne illnesses. Keep reading to minimize the risk of foodborne diseases in your home and/or restaurant.
Preventing Foodborne Illness in Homes
Whether making breakfast, lunch, or dinner, proper handling and cooking food is essential to avoid and prevent foodborne illness. While you cannot completely prevent foodborne disease, you can reduce the risk by following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) four-step food safety process:
Step 01: Clean
● Make sure that the cooking surfaces, your hands, and the food products are clean.
● Never cook if you are sick.
● Before putting the food items in the pan, examine them thoroughly. Make sure that the fruit, vegetables, and meat is fresh.
● Do not use canned goods that appear cracked, loose, or swollen.
● If you cannot access clean water, always boil it before drinking it.
● Never cook vegetables covered in a milky liquid.
● Practice good personal hygiene.
● Keep household cleaners, pets, and chemicals away from the kitchen.
Step 02: Separate
● Keep the raw meat, seafood, poultry, and eggs separate from ready-to-eat foods like vegetables, fruits, and ready-to-cook food.
● Use separate chopping boards and utensils for raw and cooked foods.
● Never wash eggs, poultry, and raw meat, as it can spread germs in the sink.
Step 03: Cook
● Make sure to cook eggs, seafood, meat, and poultry at an appropriate temperature to kill germs, bacteria, and pathogens.
● Use a food thermometer to measure the temperature.
● Cook poultry at 160 degrees Fahrenheit, whole meat at 145 degrees Fahrenheit, ground meat at 165 degrees Fahrenheit, casseroles and leftovers at 165 degrees Fahrenheit, and fish at 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
● Reheat leftovers above 70 degrees Celsius.
Step 04: Chill and Store
● Promptly uneaten or leftover food in the refrigerator.
● Avoid storing leftovers for long periods.
● Keep cold food below 5 degrees Celsius and hot food above 60 degrees Celsius.
● Refrigerate perishable food like seafood, dairy, meat, and cut fruit within 2 hours.
Preventing Foodborne Illness in Restaurants
Compared to households, preventing foodborne illness in a restaurant requires adherence to food safety management protocols. From the ingredient supplier to the chef and the waiter, everyone in the food delivery channel is responsible for protecting the food from cross-contamination and poor hygiene. Neglecting food safety will not only risk the health of hundreds of customers but will also adversely affect the reputation of the restaurant itself. Here are four ways to prevent the spread of foodborne diseases in fast-food chains and restaurants:
1. Wash Your Hands, the Workspace, and Utensils
One of the easiest ways to prevent foodborne illnesses is to ensure that your food establishment’s staff washes their hands, cooking space, and utensils thoroughly before and after preparing every meal. Doing so reduces the chances of cross-contamination from one person, food item, or ingredient to another. Always wash fish, eggs, vegetables, and raw meat with hot and soapy water to eliminate the bacteria.
2. Use Different Chopping Boards
When it comes to utensils such as cutting boards and knives, you should use a separate set for preparing raw and ready-to-eat foods. Raw food is more likely to contain harmful bacteria or viruses that can easily transmit to cooked food through utensils, spreading foodborne illness. Therefore, make sure to use different chopping boards for cooked food, raw food, poultry, fish, and meat items.
3. Ensure Proper Food Refrigeration
When left at room temperature, cooked food creates a conducive environment for bacterial growth. This usually happens when you leave cooked food untreated at 40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. It takes bacteria only 20 minutes to contaminate food that is left for more than two hours. Therefore, to prevent the risk of food poisoning, you must ensure that the cooked food is refrigerated as soon as you are done eating.
Tip: Store cooked and raw food in separate containers and compartments. Keeping them together will increase the risk of cross-contamination. For example, while cooked meat can be kept in the refrigerator, raw meat poultry must be stored in the freezer.
4. Rotate Food Products
In order to make sure that you are not using expired products and that the older stock is cleared out before you start using the ones with a longer shelf life, rotating food products is important. Doing so prevents foodborne illness, lowers cost, reduces waste, and organizes your inventory.
Hire a Newland & Newland, LLP Food Poisoning Attorney Today!
Restaurant enclosures and food recalls are a constant reminder of some of the most dangerous foodborne illness outbreaks in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics, every 1 in 6 people is at risk of suffering from foodborne disease.
Unlike other medical conditions, foodborne illness isn’t a natural environmental phenomenon but happens due to the negligence of food manufacturers, suppliers, and cooks. Thus, you have every right to file a claim for all the trouble that you went through because of someone else’s mistake. Fortunately, you are not alone. A Newland & Newland, LLP food poisoning attorney can get you compensated for the medical bills, missed workdays, pain, and suffering. Contact an Illinois food poisoning attorney right away!