Have you ever left a restaurant not feeling so well? You just ate too much and you will feel better later, right? Maybe not. You could be infected with food poisoning. People with food borne illness often think they are suffering from the "twenty-four hour flu."

Food safety involves three areas; food storage, food handling, and cooking. Many people believe that food safety means a clean looking kitchen, but it also depends on safe food practices. Forget the “ten second rule” and become informed about food borne illnesses.
Many times we know when food is spoiled. Usually the food looks or smells bad. However, some poisonous bacteria cannot be seen, smelled or tasted.

According to the FDA, here are a few of the more common food poisons (you can check our links for more information).

• Staphylococcus aureas, or "staph" has symptoms that include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, which may only last a day or two. Ordinary cooking does not always destroy the staph toxin. That is why you have to be careful not to let it grow to the toxic level.
• Salmonella is another food borne illness. The symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, and fever…. It may last anywhere from two to seven days. This bacteria is found in raw or uncooked foods, such as poultry, eggs and meat. Watch out for cookie dough too! Salmonella can be killed by properly cooking food to an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
• Perfringens, sometimes present in the environment is found in animals, sewage and in soil. It is sometimes called the “cafeteria germ.” This would include cooked beef, turkey, gravy, dressing, stews, and casseroles. Perfringens causes diarrhea and gas pains and usually lasts no more than two days.

If you suspect food poisoning, the FDA recommends to save a portion of the contaminated food and write down where it was purchased, when it was eaten, and when the symptoms were first noticed. Take this to the proper health authorities so they can track the problem. Your local health department can help.

If the symptoms are severe, seek medical treatment. If you suspect a food is not wholesome, don’t eat it!

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