The Biggest Offender of Food Poisoning
By Sara Butler
It may surprise you to know that one of the most common sources of food poisoning at home is from a dinnertime staple: chicken. Yes, chicken! According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 12 percent of all food poisoning between 2009 and 2015 was caused chicken, making it the most common offender. Here’s what you need to know about food poisoning and how you can safely eat chicken at home.
What is Food Poisoning?
You get food poisoning, also known as foodborne illness, from eating contaminated foods. Bacteria, parasites, and viruses or the toxins caused by them can cause you to become sick. These organisms and the toxins they produce can contaminate food at any point. Sometimes it happens in the processing facility and sometimes it happens at home when food isn’t cooked correctly or handled the right way.
The Symptoms of Food Poisoning
The symptoms of food poisoning can start within a few hours of eating something contaminated. You may experience:
- Abdominal cramps
- Abdominal pain
Symptoms can last a few hours or a few days. Most people don’t require medical attention, but if you can’t keep liquids down, have extreme abdominal pain, or become severely dehydrated, you may need to seek medical help.
What You Can Do
To protect yourself against potential food poisoning from chicken in your home, it’s important to know how to handle and cook it safely. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest that you:
- Keep chicken refrigerated until ready to use
- Place it in a plastic bag before placing it in your shopping cart
- Wash your hands for 20 seconds before and after you handle chicken
- Don’t wash chicken before cooking it
- Wash utensils, dishes, cutting boards, and countertops after prepping the chicken
- Cook your chicken to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit
- Refrigerate leftovers within two hours of cooking
It’s also important to keep in mind that chicken is the only thing in your kitchen that can make you sick. A few other foods that can make you sick if not stored and handled right include:
- Leafy greens
- Alfalfa sprouts
- Potato salad
- Apple cider
Remember, all foods must be handled properly and you must clean up after preparing them in order to keep you and your family safe and free from food poisoning.
To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Albuquerque, N.M.