6 Tips for Avoiding Food Poisoning

Food is life, but not everything you eat can satisfy your cravings. Some could even lead you to the emergency room or an early grave. As much as we want to make sure that the food we eat is safe, there’s no guarantee that everything we put into our mouths won’t cause food poisoning. In this guide, we look more deeply into food poisoning and the ways you can avoid being a victim.

pexels sora shimazaki
Photo by Sora Shimazaki from Pexels

What triggers food poisoning?

Since the term itself is broad, food poisoning could be attributed to a wide range of factors. It often could be the result of bacteria thriving on spoilt food or food that has been exposed to the elements.

Human factors, on the other hand, involve how well food is sourced, processed, packaged, and stored. Poor sanitary conditions at slaughterhouses and cooking utensils that were not properly washed could contribute to the growth of bacteria and parasites.

When it comes to packaging, poorly wrapped food items can also cause bacteria to enter through holes and leaks, thereby leading to contamination. Often, overlooking tampered packaging could be grounds for filing a lawsuit against a grocery store or restaurant for improper handling. An E. Coli lawyer could vouch for this if the establishment owner didn’t observe due care in preparing and serving food.

In any case, it’s easy to say that food poisoning can only happen due to negligence and human error. It’s strictly avoidable, so consumers like yourself need to take a close look at what you’re about to munch on and make sure the food itself is prepared and stored properly.

How to Keep Your Gut Safe from Food Poisoning

Avoiding food poisoning is a matter of being aware of your choices and where the food and beverages you buy come from. Here are a few things to remember:

1. Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly

Even fresh fruits can be contaminated by germs and bacteria resting on our exposed hands. It’s important to follow a strict sanitary routine when you’re handling and preparing food. The most basic rule to follow is to wash your hands thoroughly using an antibacterial soap. Don’t rely on applying isopropyl alcohol on your palms because pathogens are better removed through proper handwashing

Start by rubbing your palms, scrubbing each finger and removing any dirt underneath your fingernails. Through this basic practice, the risk of contamination decreases drastically.

2. Know the right temperature to cook certain food in

When cooking certain meat, it pays to know how much heat is needed to render it safe for consumption. Raw meat may be acceptable in countries like Japan, but without proper know-how, consuming any could leave you with an upset stomach. When you’re an inexperienced cook, make sure to cook at the right temperature. 

For instance, beef is safe to eat when it’s cooked in flames reaching at least 71 degrees Celsius. Always use a thermometer to check if the meat you’re cooking is done. However, keep in mind that the inside of the meat could still be fresh (you’ll know this if it’s still oozing with blood). For extra safety, give it a little more time to cook before taking it out and serving.

3. Defrost frozen food properly

Food that’s frozen lasts longer, but they are often difficult to thaw completely. Not doing this well enough will cause moisture to build in the center of the meat, allowing bacteria to thrive. This often results in longer cooking times and carries a higher risk of food poisoning. Since the center is still frozen, heat may not penetrate the meat completely. This could cause a failure to kill the bacteria frozen in the center. 

Proper defrosting involves taking the meat from the freezing compartment and placing it in a separate compartment in the refrigerator. Take care not to let the melted ice contaminate the other food items you have inside. Check the meat for any ice crystals and see if it’s smooth enough to cook. Keep in mind that you should avoid refreezing meat that’s thoroughly thawed out. Cook the meat before storing it.

4. Check for broken seals and leaks

When it comes to preparing packaged food items, the worst you can do is to ignore punctures, deformities, and the like on the packaging. These are indications of tampering and you must assume that they’re already contaminated. The smallest openings could be enough for bacteria to seep through the packaging and infect the food contained therein.

Your best defense against food poisoning caused by tampered packaging is to check for broken seals and punctures. An ocular inspection would suffice. If you still suspect contamination, conducting a smell test is best. If the food smells foul and disagreeable, you might as well throw it away rather than risk food poisoning.

5. Wash containers properly

One fatal mistake you could commit in the kitchen is to reuse containers that once held frozen food. Traces of blood and melted ice could provide ideal conditions for bacteria, germs, and viruses to thrive. Don’t forget to wash and dry food containers properly before storing them for certain ingredients. 

Consider sterilizing food containers that have been used for storage. Use antibacterial dish soap to remove any remaining grease and debris. Let it dry completely before putting in fresher food.

6. Use common sense when traveling

Ultimately, common sense will protect you from consuming anything that could cause food poisoning. When traveling, avoid assuming streams and rivers are safe to drink. It’s also important to avoid picking and consuming wild plants, fruits, and vegetables straight from the ground. Even proper washing could fail to clean out the pathogens and parasites that infected them. Given that you’re in unfamiliar territory, it’s best to avoid consuming anything unless the locals say it’s safe to eat.


Food poisoning can happen at any given time. No matter where you are, there’s always a good chance for you to suffer an upset stomach. Using these tips, you can avoid making any fatal gastronomic decisions.

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