Preventing food poisoning

March 13, 2009 9:01:05 AM PDT
You have a one in four chance of getting food poisoning this year alone. It is extremely unpleasant and equally as preventable.

The Centers for Disease Control says the one in four number could be higher because many people mistake food poisoning for a stomach bug. Many people can't tell the difference between the two. So are you just a sitting duck waiting for your turn to get sick? There is a lot you can do to prevent a foodborne illness.

First, wash your hands when cooking at home or eating at a restaurant.

We also went to the Art Institute of New York City to see how they train their students. Top priority: food handling safety.

Chef Brendan Keenan, an instructor, knows how dangerous mishandled food can be, so proper procedure is stressed during class -- from using gloves for food that will not be cooked to cleaning a cutting board.

Keenan advises cooking chicken at a high temperature, at least 165 degrees, to avoid salmonella. While you might think chicken poses the biggest risk with salmonella, Dr. Chris McCarthy says you should fear staff more.

"Staph grows in warm environments. We find food poisoning cases a lot at picnics and outdoor events in the summer because creamy sauces, mayonnaise, any type of dairy that is left outside in the sun can get staff off people's skin," he said.

McCarthy said he has seen entire families come to the e-r at St. Vincent's in Manhattan after falling ill.

The doctor and the chef agree that most cases of food poisoning are preventable.

You can learn more by downloading a PDF with more information from the Centers from Disease Control:
http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/feature?section=news&id=6704648


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