How to Prevent Food Poisoning at the Grocery Store & Home

woman grabbing her stomach due to food poisoning
Mild cases of food poisoning get better without treatment, but severe cases might require going to the hospital. Make sure you to take steps to prevent food poisoning.

Food poisoning gets about 48 million people sick and kills over 3,000 people each year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And it takes more than hand washing to prevent food poisoning.

These easy-to-follow steps can protect you and your family from foodborne illnesses.

Food Safety at Home

Keep your kitchen clean from disease.

Disinfect Countertops

Soap and water clean, but they don’t disinfect. After washing countertops with soap and hot water, disinfect them with a solution of 1 – 3 tablespoons of household chlorine bleach per gallon of water. Use a countertop cleaner on granite countertops.

Replace Old Cutting Boards

Salmonella and other bacteria can get into the cracks of cutting boards and be difficult to remove. Replace cutting boards regularly.

Avoid Cross-Contamination

Use color-coded cutting boards and utensils for meat, veggies and fish. Or put a dab of non-toxic paint on boards and utensils to tell them apart. For example, use red for meat, green for veggies and blue for fish.

More About Food Safety

Call the National Sanitation Foundation Consumer Safety hotline at 800.673.8010 or the FDA’s Safe Food information line at 888-SAFE-FOOD.

Thaw in the Refrigerator

Don’t thaw foods at room temperature. Don’t refreeze foods once they have been completely thawed.

Store Water in the Pantry

Don’t keep bottled water in your garage or near cleaning products. Gasoline and any products that have a vapor – such as oven cleaners and paints – can penetrate plastic water bottles that are slightly permeable.

At the Grocery Store

Check Expiration Dates

Some supermarkets discount food items close to their expiration dates to move foods off the shelves. While this is certainly a money saver, it can be dangerous if you do not use the food right away. If you can’t use the food before the expiration date, freeze it or leave it at the store.

Still or Severely Sick?

If your symptoms continue or severe, you should see a provider for testing and treatment.

Buy Whole-Head Lettuce

Bagged, pre-washed lettuce is convenient, but it can also be a breeding ground for bacteria. Food experts agree it is safer to buy a whole head of lettuce – and it’s cheaper, too.

Buy Pasteurized Eggs

Pasteurized eggs are preheated to kill bacteria and viruses inside the shell. They cost more than regular eggs and come with a “P” stamped on the carton. If you’re eating out, you probably won’t be served pasteurized eggs, so order eggs cooked well-done instead of over-easy to reduce your risk of salmonella.



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