Contaminated food can make you sick. These simple things can protect you:
The advice to wash hands for 20 seconds with soap and water is by far the most repeated and there is a reason why. It is because it is the first and best way you can stay safe. So do it; wash your hands.
Wash your hands with plain soap and water several times through the course of your day whether at the office or at home. Wash your hands before, during, and after preparing food like raw meats (poultry or fish) and raw eggs. Wash your hands before eating, after using the toilet, after touching garbage, money, files, after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing!
Wash all plates, utensils, and cutting boards after using them. This includes dish cloths; wash them thoroughly using a detergent and ideally hot water.
Use individual plates for eating and do not eat from another person’s plate. This means dishing out the food onto separate plates and not eating from each other’s plates. Also, use separate plates and utensils for foods. This way you will stop cross contamination. As will using different cutting boards or surfaces when preparing the food.
When you go shopping, separate food in your shopping basket or cart. And when you reach the cashier and have paid make sure that you place raw meat in separate bags and away from other foods!
Some foods are more frequently associated with food poisoning or foodborne illness than others. Therefore, the way you handle them and store them is crucial. Meat and poultry, especially, when mishandled in the raw state may not be safe to eat even after proper preparation. Do not leave raw meat and this includes poultry out of the refrigerator for too long before cooking because once contaminated the toxins in the food may not be destroyed by cooking.
Vegetables and fruits are known to pick up harmful bacteria from contaminated soil, contaminated water and contaminated cutting boards. Wash them to kill bacteria.
If you’re not serving food right away after cooking, keep it in a chafing dish or other container that will stop bacteria growing on it because bacteria can double in number in as little as 20 minutes. So when there are leftovers; refrigerate or freeze.
NOTE: Once food is thawed, it can again become contaminated and may lead to foodborne illness because bacteria on thawed foods will grow at about the same rate as they would on fresh food.