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Food Poisoning Is Common: Here’s How to Prevent It


Food Poisoning Is Common: Here’s How to Prevent It

In the United States, 1 in 6 people get foodborne illness each year which equals about 48 million cases. Food poisoning can happen when a person eats food or drinks water that contains bacteria or other harmful organisms. Symptoms may begin as soon as 2 hours after eating contaminated food or may not appear for a few days. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever and headache are common symptoms of food poisoning. Symptoms of some types of food poisoning last only a couple of hours while others can last several days. Food poisoning may be more serious for infants, the elderly, pregnant women, and those with a weakened immune system.

 4 Steps to Food Safety:

  • CLEAN: Keep hands and cooking utensils clean when preparing meals. Thoroughly wash cutting boards, knives, and other utensils
  • SEPARATE: When preparing meat or poultry, keep them separated from fruits and vegetables so bacteria from the meat does not get on the produce
  • COOL: Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours of finishing a meal. This keeps food out of the temperature danger zone where bacteria can grow
  • COOK: Cook meat to the correct temperature to ensure that bacteria does not survive

10 tips to prevent food poisoning:

  • Wash fruits and vegetables
  • Wash hands for at least 20 seconds before handling food
  • Put raw meat in a plastic bag or on a plate in the fridge to prevent juices from dripping on other food
  • Thaw and marinate meat in the fridge
  • Put groceries in the fridge as quickly as possible
  • When home canning, follow instructions for boiling jars
  • Check the food recall list regularly to make sure you don’t have those unsafe foods in your home.
  • When in doubt…throw it out!

If you think you have food poisoning or if you have questions, call Utah Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222. Experts are available 24/7 to help.


Author: Sherrie Pace, MS, MCHES® Health Educator, Outreach Coordinator, Utah Poison Control Center


The UPCC is a 24-hour resource for poison information, clinical toxicology consultation, and poison prevention education. The UPCC is a program of the State of Utah and is administratively housed in the University of Utah, College of Pharmacy. The UPCC is nationally certified as a regional poison control center.