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Food Safety

Man cooks in his kitchen

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Cooking your own food can be fun.

Cooking can be fun and the food that you cook can taste good to eat.

But, certain foods can have bacteria and other germs growing on them.

Food that is not handled in the right way can make you sick.

If food is not handled or cooked in the right way, germs can grow out of control and make you sick when they get into your body.

When you get sick from the food that you eat you have what is called a “food-borne illness.”

Anyone can develop a food-borne illness

Some people have a greater risk of getting sick from food that has not been prepared in a safe way:

  • Young children
  • Pregnant women
  • Older people
  • People with some types of health conditions

A food-borne illness can make you feel very sick.

You may experience:

  • Diarrhea
  • Upset stomach
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach cramps
  • Fever

Food-borne illnesses can be serious.

Even if you are not sure what is making you sick, you should tell your doctor right away.

You should also call your doctor if:

  • You have a fever above 101.5 degrees
  • You see blood in the toilet
  • You have a dry mouth and throat or feel dizzy when you stand up

If you have diarrhea, make sure to drink a lot of liquids.

Diarrhea can cause your body to lose a lot of water.

If you have diarrhea, it is important that you drink plenty of water or juice.

This will help to protect you from getting even sicker.

Food-borne illness is preventable!

You can prevent food-borne illness by learning about the correct way to handle food.

You can also remind other people who prepare food for you about the correct way to handle food.

You should follow these rules when you prepare your own food.

Wash your hands and cooking areas often.

Wash your hands with hot, soapy water before you start cooking and after preparing each food item.

Also wash cutting boards, utensils, and counter tops after preparing each food item and before going on to the next.

Keep raw meat and seafood away from other foods.

Separate these food items from other foods in your shopping cart and in your refrigerator.

Do not reuse the same cutting board for raw meats and other foods.

Wash your hands after you touch raw meat.

Never place cooked food on a plate where raw meat was sitting.

Cook meat and eggs thoroughly.

Cooking meat and eggs thoroughly will kill bacteria and other germs that could make you sick.

Cook meat until it is no longer pink.

Never eat raw eggs.

  • This includes not eating cake or cookie batter made with raw eggs.

Put leftovers in the refrigerator or freezer quickly.

If you have food that you want to save for later, do not leave it out for more than two hours.

Food that needs to be refrigerated should always be taken directly home from the grocery store.

Prepare meats, fruits, and vegetables safely.

Wash fruits and vegetables under running water to remove all dirt.

Frozen raw meat should not be thawed by leaving it out on the counter.

  • Thaw your raw meat by putting it in the refrigerator or thawing it in the microwave.

Never eat food that you think may be spoiled.

If you think that food may be spoiled, throw it away!

  • You should eat refrigerated leftovers within three to four days.
  • Do not test the food by tasting it.

Never eat canned food if the can is bulging or looks like it has a leak in it.

For more information on food safety and food-borne illnesses check out these websites.

North Carolina Department of Agriculture

Iowa State University

Web MD

This tip sheet can remind you about how to prepare food safely!

You can print out this tip sheet and put it in your kitchen to remind you about how to prepare food safely.

Last updated on Mon, 06/21/2010 - 17:26