Say 'No' to Foodborne Illness
You probably wouldn't consider a fresh spinach salad bad for your health. After all, spinach is packed with nutrients like fiber and potassium. But a recent government report found that such leafy green vegetables are the most common culprits of foodborne illnesses in the U.S. Don't toss out that salad just yet, though. You can do a lot to prevent food poisoning.
Facts about foodborne illnesses
More than 48 million Americans suffer a bout of food poisoning every year. A foodborne illness can occur when you eat food that contains harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites, or chemicals. These contaminants can cause symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Some of the most well-known disease-causing contaminants, or pathogens, include Salmonella, norovirus, and Escherichia coli, or E. coli.
Along with leafy green vegetables, food items that are more likely to be contaminated include dairy products, fruits, nuts, and poultry. Food can become tainted at any point from the farm to your kitchen table. For instance, a virus may infect your store-bought tuna sandwich because the person who prepared it was sick and didn't properly wash his or her hands. Or bacteria such as Salmonella may flourish on a chicken breast because you didn't cook the meat thoroughly.
Most people recover from a foodborne illness without any lasting problems. But eating tainted food can be deadly. The most lethal: contaminated meat, particularly poultry. It accounted for the most food-illness-related deaths in the U.S. from 1998 to 2008.
The fundamentals of food safety
Food poisoning can affect anyone. But children, older adults, and pregnant women are most at risk. To keep everyone at your kitchen table healthy, follow these simple preparation steps every time you cook:
Always talk with your health care provider to find out more information.
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