and Foodborne Illness Prevention
Food becomes contaminated through a variety of mechanisms. Some things that can contribute to foodborne illness are:
- inadequate handwashing
- storage and cooking temperatures
- contamination of food by animal waste
- Pathogens can be introduced into food from infected humans who handle the food without thoroughly washing their hands.
- These pathogens are thus transferred from trace amounts of fecal matter present on hands to the food.
- Hand Hygiene: Wash Your Hands!
Handwashing and Hand Hygiene information
- Food and kitchen tools and surfaces may become contaminated from raw food products (i.e., meat and poultry).
- Microbes can be transferred from one food to another by using the same knife, cutting board or other utensil without washing the surface or utensil in between uses.
- A food that is fully cooked can become re-contaminated if it touches other raw foods or drippings from raw foods that contain pathogens.
- Prevent Cross-Contamination
Cross-contamination is the physical movement or transfer of harmful bacteria from one person, object or place to another.
Storage and Cooking Temperatures
- Many pathogens need to multiply to a larger number before enough are present in food to cause disease.
- In general, refrigeration or freezing prevents virtually all bacteria from growing.
- If food is heated sufficiently, parasites, viruses and most bacteria are killed.
- How Temperatures Affect Food
Food Safety and Inspection Service United States Department of Agriculture. Attention: Non-MDH link
Contamination of Food by Animal Waste
Many foodborne microbes are present in healthy animals raised for food.
- Meat and poultry may become contaminated during slaughter by small amounts of intestinal contents.
- Fresh fruits and vegetables can be contaminated if they are washed with water that is contaminated by animal manure or human sewage.