Am Fam Physician. 2015;92(5):online
See related article on foodborne illness
What causes food poisoning?
Food poisoning happens after someone eats food that has germs or viruses in it.
How do I know if a food is bad?
It's not always easy to tell. Food recalls may be in the news when outbreaks happen. It's best to assume that all raw meats (including poultry), eggs, and fresh fruits and vegetables could have germs.
How do I know if I have food poisoning?
Food poisoning usually causes stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. The diarrhea may have blood in it. Some types of food poisoning can be very serious. It's important to let your doctor know if you think you might have it.
How can I keep from getting sick?
Pay attention to food recall notices, and don't eat food that has been recalled. Only eat shellfish that have been cooked or treated for safe eating. Never cook for others if you have diarrhea or have been vomiting. When preparing food, remember: clean, separate, cook, and chill.
Clean. Wash your hands and anything else that touches raw meat (including cutting boards and countertops). Don't wash raw meat or eggs. This can actually spread germs to other foods. Wash all fresh fruits and vegetables.
Separate. Don't let raw meat touch other foods. Use different cutting boards for meat and vegetables.
Cook. Cook food to a safe temperature (see table on next page). Don't drink unpasteurized dairy products or juices.
Chill. Put foods that belong in the refrigerator away as soon as possible. Thaw meat in the refrigerator, not on the counter.
|Eggs||Cook until yolks and whites are firm|
|Fresh beef, pork, veal, and lamb||145°F with a 3-minute rest time|
|Beef, pork, veal, and lamb||160°F|
|Turkey and chicken||165°F|
|Fresh (raw)||145°F with a 3-minute rest time|
|Precooked (to reheat)||140°F|
|Leftovers and casseroles||165°F|
|Chicken and turkey, whole||165°F|
|Duck and goose||165°F|
|Stuffing (cooked in bird)||165°F|
|Clams, oysters, and mussels||Cook until shells open|
|Fish||145°F or until flesh is opaque and separates easily with a fork|
|Scallops||Cook until flesh is firm and milky white or opaque|
|Shrimp, lobster, and crabs||Cook until flesh is pearly and opaque|