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Food Safety & Foodborne Illness

  1. Where can I find a dietitian who works with food safety and sanitation in commercial kitchens for my food service operation? Answer
  2. I'm interested in knowing more about food safety. Answer
  3. My girlfriend and I have eaten something that made us feel bad. We'd like to know the best diet in these situations. Answer

Where can I find a dietitian who works with food safety and sanitation in commercial kitchens for my food service operation?

The Dietitians in Business and Communications and Food & Culinary Professionals dietetic practice groups of the American Dietetic Association specialize in sanitation, HACCP and quality control training. You can find a dietitian at the American Dietetic Association. Include your zip code or city / state and the type of expertise in culinary arts, a specialty in restaurant and food service management, food service equipment, sales or kitchen design or sanitation, HACCP and quality control training.

I'm interested in knowing more about food safety.

FYI: This reprint contains valuable information for consumers on food safety in the home kitchen. The following FoodTalk newsletter is a March 1997 (updated April 2002) reprint with permission from
Alice Henneman, MS, RD, LMNT Extension Educator,
University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension in Lancaster County.


If you cook food long enough at the proper temperature, can you assure that it will be safe to eat? The most effective means of keeping food safe is to take a HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) approach advises the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA/FSIS). HACCP is a method used by industry to follow the flow of food from the time it's purchased through handling leftovers. USDA has identified key "control points" at which consumers in the home can help keep food safe.


Failure to take appropriate action at these critical points could result in food borne illness. Here are some recommendations cited by USDA/FSIS.


  • Purchase meat and poultry products last and keep packages of raw meat and poultry separate from other foods, particularly foods that will be eaten without further cooking. Consider using plastic bags to enclose individual packages of raw meat and poultry.
  • Canned goods should be free of dents, cracks or bulging lids.
  • Take food straight home to the refrigerator. I f travel time will exceed one hour, pack perishable foods in a cooler with ice and keep groceries and cooler in the passenger area of the car during warm weather.


  • Verify the temperature of your refrigerator and freezer with an appliance thermometer -- refrigerators should run at 40 degrees F or below; freezers at 0 degrees F.
  • At home, refrigerate or freeze meat and poultry immediately.
  • To prevent raw juices from dripping on other foods in the refrigerator, use plastic bags or place meat and poultry on a plate.
  • Wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds before and after handling any raw meat, poultry or seafood products.
  • Store canned goods in a cool, clean dry place. Avoid extreme heat or cold, which can be harmful to canned goods.
  • Never store any foods directly under a sink and always keep foods off the floor and separate from cleaning supplies.


  • Wash hands (gloved or not) with soap and water for 20 seconds: before beginning preparation; after handling raw meat, poultry, seafood or eggs; after touching animals; after using the bathroom; after changing diapers; or after blowing the nose.
  • Don't let juices from raw meat, poultry or seafood come in contact with cooked foods or foods that will be eaten raw, such as fruits or salad ingredients.
  • Wash hands, counters, equipment, utensils and cutting boards with soap and hot water immediately after use. Counters, equipment, utensils and cutting boards can be sanitized with a chlorine solution -- follow the instructions on sanitizing products.
  • Thaw in the refrigerator, NEVER ON THE COUNTER. It is also safe to thaw in cold water in an airtight plastic wrapper or bag, changing the water every 30 minutes until thawed. Or, thaw in the microwave and cook the product immediately.
  • Marinate foods in the refrigerator, NEVER ON THE COUNTER.


  • Always cook thoroughly. If harmful bacteria are present, only thorough cooking will destroy them.
  • Use a meat thermometer to determine if your meat or poultry or casserole has reached a safe internal temperature. Check the product in several spots to assure that a safe temperature has been reached.
  • Avoid interrupted cooking. Never refrigerate partially cooked products to later finish cooking on the grill or in the oven. Meat and poultry products must be cooked thoroughly the first time and then they may be refrigerated and safely reheated later.
  • When microwaving foods, carefully follow manufacturers' instructions. Use microwave-safe containers, cover, rotate and allow for the standing time, which contributes to thorough cooking.


  • Wash hands with soap and water before serving or eating food.
  • Serve cooked products on clean plates with clean utensils and clean hands. Never put cooked foods on a dish that has held raw products unless the dish is washed with soap and hot water.
  • Hold hot foods above 140 degrees F and cold foods below 40 degrees F.
  • Never leave foods, raw or cooked, at room temperature longer than 2 hours. On a hot day with temperatures at 90 degrees F or warmer, this decreases to 1 hour


  • Wash hands before and after handling leftovers. Use clean utensils and surfaces.
  • Divide leftovers into small units and store in shallow containers for quick cooling. Refrigerate within 2 hours of cooking. Discard anything left out too long.
  • Never taste a food to determine if it is safe.
  • When reheating leftovers, reheat thoroughly to a temperature of 165 degrees F or until hot and steamy. Bring soups, sauces and gravies to a rolling boil.

If in doubt, throw it out!

My girlfriend and I have eaten something that made us feel bad. We have chills, nausea and vomits during the night after having dinner. We think it was indigestion. We'd like to know the best diet in these situations and if to drink milk is good or bad.

If you were nauseated or vomiting, milk would not be good to drink. Milk can also aggravate diarrhea.

Generally, no food is better until you quit feeling nauseated or vomiting for an hour or two because whatever you eat will probably come back up. After that, clear liquids like tea, apple or cranberry juice, lemon-lime soda, gelatin, chicken or beef clear broth would be appropriate. If you tolerate these foods, after a few hours (3 - 4) add other soft foods as tolerated, but avoid raw fruits and vegetables and whole grains for at least 24 hours to give your stomach rest.

If you vomit or have diarrhea within a few hours after a meal, I would suspect food poisoning. You may have eaten food that was undercooked or food that was cooked by someone who was ill himself or herself. If your symptoms continue (nausea, vomiting or diarrhea), call your doctor or go to a hospital. Food poisoning can be very dangerous.

I do not know why you would have had the chills, ask your doctor.

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