How to avoid food poisoning
Food poisoning can even be downright dangerous. Here’s how you can avoid falling ill.
It’s impossible to tell whether beef is ready by looking at
“There’s a [helpful slogan to use],” says Jeffrey Farber, a food-science professor at the University of Guelph. “Your burger’s done at 71!” (That’s degrees Celsius, to be precise). Home chefs should use a meat thermometer. Follow these 5 food safety tips for proper food handling.
If you like your steak medium rare, don’t fret
You can get away with cooking it to 63°C. “The process of grinding meat can introduce bacteria from the grinding surface,” says Farber, while more intact cuts only have bacteria on the surface. These are the 49 foods nutritionists won’t touch… so you shouldn’t either.
Keep your fridge at 4°C
That’s according to Lawrence Goodridge, the Ian and Jayne Munro chair in food safety at McGill University. “Anything above that and bacteria can potentially grow.” When food is kept between 4°C and 60°C, bacteria may double in as little as 20 minutes.
Refrigerate leftovers within two hours of cooking
That even goes for pizza, rice and vegetables. Reheat those meals to 74°C, says Goodridge. Bacteria can grow while food is in the fridge, so don’t eat leftovers cold. These are 10 foods you shouldn’t reheat in a microwave.
The safest way to defrost meat is slowly in the fridge
You can also thaw it in cold water, says Farber – it maintains a consistent temperature. Here are 35 things food manufacturers won’t tell you.
Resist the temptation to buy precut salad, even if prewashed
“If vegetables are contaminated during processing, there’s nothing [you] can do,” Goodridge explains. Rinsing greens doesn’t remove bacteria – only cooking will. Find out the 10 things you shouldn’t eat in an all-you-can-eat buffet.
Non-food items can give you food poisoning
Homemade playdough, for example, was linked to E. coli outbreaks in 2016 and 2017. Wash your hands thoroughly after playtime to avoid falling ill.
Be careful while handling your scaly or feathered friends
April Hexemer, a manager of the outbreak management division at the Public Health Agency of Canada, points out that birds, reptiles and amphibians can carry salmonella. Wash your hands carefully after feeding and touching these pets or being in their environments. On the other hand, pets can bring health benefits to their owners. Find out what they are.
Your sickness probably wasn’t caused by your last meal
Campylobacteriosis, one of the most frequently reported foodborne illnesses, produces symptoms anywhere from two to five days after exposure, says Hexemer. Salmonella shows up after one to three days and E. coli infection after one to 10. Do you have food poisoning or something far more sinister? Here are 12 medical conditions that can kill you in 24 hours or less.
Forget the best-before date
It refers only to freshness and quality, says Goodridge. Instead, acquaint yourself with safety guidelines for specific foods. Deli meats, hot dogs and soft cheeses, for example, are associated with listeria, a type of bacteria that can grow in cold temperatures. Consume these foods within two to three days of opening them. Never, ever ignore these 13 expiration dates.
Don’t rely on the smell test
“The bacteria that spoil food are not the same as those that make us sick,” says Goodridge. If the food smells, it’s not safe to eat, but a lack of odour doesn’t guarantee it’s edible. Aim to consume leftovers within two to three days to avoid food poisoning. Check out these ten foods you had no idea you could freeze.
If you suspect a foodborne illness, seek medical help
If you don’t, says Goodridge, public health professionals won’t know that you got sick. Reporting your illness helps alert the correct authorities and gets contaminated food recalled faster. Find out the 38 things hospitals won’t tell you.
Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics for severe cases
If you have a severe case of bacterial food poisoning, antibiotics may be prescribed. Otherwise, focus on replacing lost fluids and electrolytes, getting lots of rest and reintroducing solid foods. Next, check out the best meals to eat when you feel your worst.
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Source: RD Canada