Holiday party hints for avoiding food poisoning
don'ts when it comes to holiday gatherings
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[December 17, 2012]
SPRINGFIELD -- Fancy dips, tempting
hors d'oeuvres and delightful desserts are some of the culinary
treats we see at holiday dinners, office parties or other
celebrations. However, those get-togethers could result in foodborne
illness if you are not careful.
Estimates from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
say that each year roughly 1 in 6 Americans (or 48 million people)
get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die of foodborne
illnesses. In Illinois, it is estimated that as many as 250,000
cases of foodborne illness may occur each year. However, because
these illnesses can be mild and because the vast majority of them
occur in the home, many go unreported.
"As a guest at holiday
parties, there are a couple things you can watch out for to avoid
foodborne illness. Hot foods should be hot and cold foods cold.
Bacteria will start to grow on food that should be served either
cold or hot, that is sitting out for more than a couple hours at
room temperature. You should also be cautious when eating certain
foods, such as raw oysters, egg drinks, soft-boiled eggs, steak
tartare, and rare or medium hamburger. These foods can harbor
bacteria that cause foodborne illness," said Illinois Department of
Public Health Director LaMar Hasbrouck.
Holiday hosts -- what you should do:
your hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds before and
after preparing food. Wash all utensils, dishes and countertops
with hot soap and water. Rinse fresh produce with water.
Avoid cross-contamination by keeping raw meat and poultry, and
their juices, separate from fruits, vegetables and cooked foods.
Never use a utensil on cooked foods that was previously used on
uncooked foods, unless it's washed first with soap and water.
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use a food thermometer when cooking meat and poultry to make
sure of cooking to a safe internal temperature.
Refrigerate leftovers within
two hours. Set your refrigerator at or below 40 degrees F and
the freezer at 0 degrees.
Young children, the elderly, pregnant women, and those who are
ill or whose immune systems are compromised are often at higher risk
of complications due to foodborne illness.
If you or a family member develops nausea, vomiting, diarrhea,
fever or abdominal cramps, you could have foodborne illness.
Symptoms can appear anywhere from 30 minutes to two weeks after
eating contaminated food. Most often, people get sick within four to
48 hours after eating contaminated food.
Some foodborne illnesses will resolve themselves without
treatment. However, if the symptoms are severe or if the person is
very young, old, pregnant or already ill, call a doctor or go to a
nearby hospital immediately. If groups of people from different
households become sick with vomiting and diarrhea, contact the local
Department of Public Health file received from
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]