Food Poisoning Rates Stagnant

April 18, 2014

Outbreaks of foodborne illness make big headlines—and given how easily preventable the are, eliminating them is high on the CDC‘s to-do list.

Despite their efforts, the best they’ve been able to do is slow food poisoning rates down to a trickle of increases, with most pathogens remaining right where they are.

To be fair, they’ve already made tons of progress in past decades. But we aren’t talking about quick to mutate flu—we’re talking about safety protocols (for the most part) so stagnation is a little surprising. The CDC tries to discourage the presence of pathogens on the chicken you buy, but if you follow safe food practices it shouldn’t matter too much.

-After food reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s a matter of seconds before nearly all pathogens die. Use a food thermometer to make sure internal temperatures are safe.

-Buy whole meat, then chop/grind/prepare it yourself. Meat that’s already cut/ground/prepared has more surface area to harbor bacteria, and more opportunities to pick it up. Plus, the CDC’s traditional strategies have focused on whole pieces.

-Wash your hands frequently, and clean all surfaces and utensils that touched raw meat.

– Follow safety tips about leaving food out—it needs to stay at food safe temps (hot or cold as appropriate).

Food borne illness can cause cramps, diarrhea and other GI problems. The cast majority of cases to unreported. Eating probiotics like those found in yogurt may help fend off food poisoning. People with weakened immune systems are more susceptible to more severe reactions.

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