Food Poisoning

  • Medical Author:
    Benjamin Wedro, MD, FACEP, FAAEM

    Dr. Ben Wedro practices emergency medicine at Gundersen Clinic, a regional trauma center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His background includes undergraduate and medical studies at the University of Alberta, a Family Practice internship at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and residency training in Emergency Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

  • Medical Editor: Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

Food Poisoning Dangers Slideshow

Quick GuideFood Poisoning: 20 Common and Uncommon Types, Signs and Symptoms

Food Poisoning: 20 Common and Uncommon Types, Signs and Symptoms

How can food poisoning be prevented?

Prevention of food borne illness begins at home with proper food preparation technique.

  • Foods should be cooked thoroughly. This especially applies to eggs, poultry, and meat. A meat thermometer can be used to measure the internal temperature of a meat dish.
  • Leftovers should be refrigerated immediately so bacteria and viruses do not have time to start growing.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables well before eating. This removes dirt, pesticides, chemicals, or other infectious agents used on, or exposed to, the foods in the fields or storage facilities.
  • Wash hands routinely before and after handling food to help prevent the spread of infection.
  • Thoroughly clean counters and other areas that are used to clean, prepare, and assemble foods. Cross contamination of food is common and can cause food poisonings. For example, a cutting board and knife used to cut raw chicken should be washed thoroughly before cutting up fruit and vegetables to prevent the spread of Salmonella.
  • In restaurants, meals are prepared by others. Health inspectors check restaurants routinely and their reports on sanitary practices are usually available online. Make certain the food ordered is thoroughly cooked, especially meats such hamburger.
  • Pregnant women and people who have compromised immune systems, such as those undergoing chemotherapy or who are taking medication such as prednisone, should avoid eating soft cheeses like camembert, brie, blue, and feta because of the risk of contracting Listeria. Be very sure all fruits and vegetables are cleaned thoroughly prior to eating, no matter the source.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/31/2015

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