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Preventing Food Poisoning: At Home

By observing a few simple precautions in your home, you canreduce the risk of contracting food poisoning (or "foodborneillness").

COOK: meat, poultry, and eggs thoroughly. Cook all poultry thoroughly to an inside temperatureof 170ºF (77ºC) for breast meat, and 180ºF (82ºC) for thigh meat.

Ground beef can turn brown beforedisease-causing bacteria are killed. Usea digital instant-read thermometer to ensure thorough cooking. Ground beef should be cooked until a thermometerinserted into several parts of the patty, including the thickest part, reads atleast 160?F. The risk of contracting anillness increases when consuming beef patties that are still pink in themiddle. Wash the meat thermometer inbetween tests of patties that require further cooking.

Drink only pasteurized milk,juice, or cider. Avoid consuming unpasteurized or raw dairy products and eggs. Raw eggs may be unrecognized in foods such ashomemade hollandaise sauce, Caesar and other homemade salad dressings,tiramisu, homemade ice cream, homemade mayonnaise, cookie dough, andfrostings. Drink and/or use municipalwater that has been treated with chlorine or another effective disinfectant.

SEPARATE: Avoid cross-contamination of foods. Uncooked meats should be kept separate fromproduce, cooked foods, and ready-to-eat foods.Wash hands, kitchen work surfaces, counters, cutting boards, knives, andother utensils thoroughly with hot soapy water after contact with or handlinguncooked foods, such as raw meat or poultry.

To avoid recontamination, placecooked meat on a clean platter, and not on surfaces that held raw meat.

Prevent cross-contamination in thekitchen by using separate cutting boards for foods of animal origin and otherfoods

CHILL: Because bacteria can grow quickly at roomtemperature, you should refrigerate leftovers promptly, especially if they arenot going to be eaten within 4 hours.Dividing large volumes of food into several shallow containers forrefrigeration ensures that the food will cool more quickly.

CLEAN: Wash hands with soap and warm water before and afterhandling raw foods of animal origin.Rinse fresh fruits and vegetables in running tap water to remove visibledirt and grime. Remove and discard theoutermost leaves of a head of lettuce or cabbage. Bacteria can grow well on the cut surface ofa fruit or vegetable. Be careful not tocontaminate these foods while slicing them on a cutting board and avoid leavingcut produce at room temperature for several hours.

Children under the age of 5, immunocompromised persons, and the elderly should avoideating alfalfa sprouts until their safety can be assured. Those who have a high risk of complicationsfrom foodborne illness may wish to eat cookedvegetables and peeled fruits.

Do not work with raw poultry,meat, or other uncooked foods and an infant (e.g. feed, change diaper) at thesame time.

Make sure persons with diarrhea,especially children, wash their hands carefully and frequently with soap andwater to reduce the spread of infection. Avoid swallowing lake or pool waterwhile swimming. Anyone with a diarrheal illnessshould avoid swimming in public pools or lakes, sharing baths with others, andpreparing food for others.

Wash hands with soap and waterafter contact with pet feces.

REPORT: Report suspected food poisoning to your local healthdepartment. Infections can arise fromvarious sources and it is important for public health authorities to understandhow a particular disease is spreading in order to take appropriate action tostop it. The cooperation of both healthyand ill people in public health investigations is important after an outbreak.

Be particularly careful when preparing food for infants, theelderly, and those with weakened immune systems.

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