Food poisoning is really unpleasant, but once you’ve got a grasp of the main underlying food poisoning causes, you’ll be in a better position to make your kitchen and cooking safer. In this guide, we’ll look at the question of what is food poisoning and the steps you can take to prevent it from striking.
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What is food poisoning?
Food poisoning is caused by eating food contaminated by harmful bacteria. In most cases, it should leave your system in a few days. Symptoms include:
- Stomach pains
- Weakness and fatigue
- Aches and pains
- Fever (raised temperature and/or the chills)
Home remedies for food poisoning
There are a few tried-and-tested home remedies for food poisoning that can help you recover more quickly from the illness:
- Avoiding spicy food and alcohol
- Sipping water
- Eating bland foods like rice and bananas
Extra precautions with food poisoning
Food poisoning symptoms should subside in a few days, and the above home remedies for food poisoning should help, but you should call your doctor if:
- Your symptoms are severe and/or not getting better
- You’re pregnant
- You’re over 60 years of age
- You have a young child with food poisoning
- You have a weakened immune system or long-term medical condition
- You’re severely dehydrated
What are the main food poisoning causes?
Now we’ve answered the question of what is food poisoning, it’s important to establish why it occurs. Here are some of the main food poisoning causes:
- Dirty hands handling food
- Consuming food after its use by date
- Cross contamination of food e.g. raw and cooked
- Not cooking food sufficiently, particularly meat
- Food not being stored at the correct temperature
- Food being left out at cooked temperature for too long
- Insufficient re-heating of cooked food
As soon as you’ve got a grasp of some of the major food poising causes you can start implementing steps to prevent it.
How to prevent food poisoning
When it comes to knowing how to prevent food poisoning, there’s plenty that you can do, in terms of storage, prepping food and what you do with it afterwards:
- Prep and cooking
- After cooking
- Bacteria thrive between temperatures of 5°C and 60°C degrees, so keep your fridge temperature below 5°C
- Avoid cross contamination by keeping raw meat on the bottom shelf, away from fresh fruit and veg
- Check products regularly and throw away anything that’s passed its used by date or showing signs of deterioration
- Always wash hands before you start and any time you’ve handled raw ingredients
- Make sure surfaces are clean before prepping food
- Use separate chopping boards for fish, meat and produce
- Make sure meat is cooked right through, especially poultry
- Wash hands and wipe down surfaces
- Cool leftovers quickly by separating into small portions and/or storing in a shallow dish
- Make sure leftovers are in the fridge or freezer within two hours of cooking
- Cook thoroughly before reheating, ensuring food is steaming hot before serving
As long as you know food poisoning causes and know how to prevent food poisoning you can lessen the risk. Put these tips into practice for a healthier kitchen and safer eating.