Illinois Poison Center Gives 10 Tips on Proper Food Handling

With Thanksgiving now less than a week away, the Illinois Poison Center is giving 10 food handling tips to keep guests safe over the holidays.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, over 76 million people become ill from food each year. However, if you follow these 10 tips from IPC experts, you may be able to avoid any complications:

  • Use a meat thermometer to ensure meat, pork and poultry are thoroughly cooked. You can find proper meat temperatures at
  • Keep preparation and storage areas (including countertops, stoves and refrigerators) clean.
  • Wash hands with soap and warm running water for at least 15 to 20 seconds before preparing any food and after handling raw meat, poultry, fish, or eggs.
  • Wash utensils between each use and never reuse utensils because they can be a source of contamination.
  • Thaw meat and poultry in the refrigerator or microwave, but never at room temperature.
  • Do not prepare food if you are sick or have any type of nose or eye infection.
  • Store raw food below cooked food in the refrigerator so it cannot drip onto and contaminate the cooked food.
  • Use separate cutting boards for meats, poultry and fish.
  • To make sure leftovers are safe the next day, properly seal and store them in the refrigerator as soon as possible.
  • If you are not sure how long perishable food (especially meat, poultry and dairy) have been left out, throw them away to eliminate the risk of food poisoning.
  • Symptoms of salmonella or other food poisoning includes nausea, fever, vomiting, stomach cramps, and diarrhea. Depending on the type of food poisoning, those symptoms could last for several hours to several days.

    If you think you or someone you know has food poisoning, call the IPC at 1.800.222.1222 for treatment recommendations. The line is open seven days a week, 24 hours a day, including holidays.

    Happy Thanksgiving from your friends at Little Company of Mary Hospital and Health Care Centers.

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