Who’s at Risk
Food poisoning or foodborne illness can affect anyone who eats food contaminated by bacteria, viruses, parasites, toxins, or other substances. But, certain groups of people are more susceptible to foodborne illness. This means that they are more likely to get sick from contaminated food and, if they do get sick, the effects are much more serious. By following these basic rules of food safety, you can help prevent foodborne illness for yourself and others.
Some of these groups of people include:
If you, or someone you care for, are included in one of these groups, follow our four basic steps to food safety and the additional tips included below.
Clean: Wash hands and surfaces often
Separate: Separate raw meat and poultry from ready-to-eat foods
Cook: Cook food to the right temperatures
Chill: Chill raw meat and poultry as well as cooked leftovers promptly (within 2 hours)
Becoming a Safer Shopper
- Check “sell-by” and “use-by” dates. Do not buy products that are out of date.
- Do not buy or use damaged, swollen, rusted, or dented cans.
- Choose unbruised fruits and vegetables.
- Do not eat “self-serve” foods or free food samples.
- Do not buy or use cracked or unrefrigerated eggs.
- Pick up frozen and refrigerated items just before you check out at the grocery store.
- Refrigerate groceries right away, and never leave perishable foods out for more than 2 hours.
- Separate raw meat, poultry, and seafood from other items in your shopping cart and in your grocery bags.
- Go out to eat early to avoid large crowds. Busier restaurants may be more likely to make a mistake with your food.
- Always ask that your food be prepared fresh.
- Avoid high-risk food sources, such as salad bars, delicatessens, buffets, potlucks, and street food vendors.
- Do not eat raw fruits or vegetables (i.e. salads) when eating out since you cannot be sure that these foods were properly washed.
- Avoid “fresh-squeezed” juices; always ask if juices are pasteurized.
- Ask if pasteurized eggs are used in dishes containing egg.
- When taking food to-go, always put the food in the to-go container yourself instead of having the server do it for you.
Selecting Safer Alternatives
|Type of Food||Recommended||High Risk|
|Meat and Poultry|
Foods that contain raw/undercooked eggs, such as:
|Hot Dogs and Deli Meats|
Often when we cook at home or eat out at restaurants, there are leftovers. Safe handling of leftovers is very important to reduce your risk of foodborne illness. Store leftovers within 2 hours (1 hour if the temperature is over 90 °F). When you are ready to eat your leftovers, be sure to reheat them to 165 °F, and use a food thermometer to measure the temperature.