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Have you ever had diarrhea or vomiting or an upset stomach and wondered, “Was it something I ate?” Each year, about 1 in every 6 Americans will get sick from a foodborne illness or “food poisoning.” If you are a healthy adult, your symptoms may not have been very severe. But it’s important to know that even if you are healthy, a bout of foodborne illness can result in long-term health problems like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and reactive arthritis.

For women who are pregnant and those with a vulnerable immune system, a foodborne illness can be life threatening. 

Handling food safely in your own home can reduce your risk of foodborne illness. Here are some things all of us should do regularly:

·      Clean - Wash your hands before preparing food or eating. Teach your children to do this as well. 

·      Cross-contamination - Don’t use the same cutting board for raw foods and cooked foods. If you put raw meat, poultry or seafood on a plate, don’t reuse that plate for those items once you’ve cooked them.

·      Cook - Cook foods to the proper temperature.  

·      Chill foods - Refrigerate your foods after cooking. Perishable foods shouldn’t sit out for more than 2 hours.

Bonus tips:

·      Wash produce before cutting into it to avoid introducing bacteria or pathogens from the skin into the fruit or vegetable. This includes melons and avocados. 

·      Wash off the top of your canned foods before opening to avoid introducing bacteria or pathogens into the canned product. 

Sources: 1-888-SAFEFOOD US FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, www.fda.gov/educationsresourcelibrary.  https://cspinet.org/tip/single-bout-food-poisoning-can-have-long-lasting-consequences

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