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Foodborne illness, foodborne disease or food poisoning is any illness that results from the consumption of food contaminated with bacteria, viruses, or parasites as well as chemical or natural toxins such as poisonous mushrooms.  It is a serious public health threat in the United States where 1 in 6 Americans -- that would be 48 million people -- suffer from the illness every year.  Typically there are around 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths as a result and the numbers spike during the hot summer months.

I will briefly highlight some of the preventative measures I found below, but I will provide links for further reading.

A report in April of this year in Digital Journal reports on the risks of not washing and properly handling reusable grocery totes. While the totes are an excellent environmentally friendly alternative to paper or plastic, they also can be a potential source for contamination.

The findings indicated that unwashed grocery totes provide an environment for the survival and multiplication of bacteria like salmonella, listeria, E. coli and other pathogens. Leakage and cross contamination of food poisoning pathogens from raw and cooked foods can remain in the grocery tote for long periods of time.
Recommendations are:

Frequently washing your grocery tote with hot, soapy water;
Cleaning all areas where you place your totes, such as the kitchen counter;
Storing totes in a clean, dry location; and
Avoiding leaving empty totes in the trunk of a vehicle.

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wikiHow has a very good manual on ways to avoid food poisoning.  Here are some highlights:

Wash hands before and after food prep
Maintain separate chopping boards for raw meat and vegetables
Store meat and eggs separate from your fresh fruit and vegetables
Maintain proper heating and cooling temps
Check the article for great guidelines on food storage
Eat food as soon as possible after cooking
Rinse and scrub all raw foods
Don't eat it if you have doubts -- When in doubt, throw it out
Eating raw shellfish is an is an extraordinary risk

As to dining out, here's what they suggest:

Check the premises. The hygiene standard should be fairly self-evident.
Be careful with buffet-style food. Check to see that hot food is being kept hot and not just lukewarm. Rice can be a source of food contamination if it has been left out for too long. Salads are also a possible problem if they are not fresh.

Be careful with some salad dressings, Mayonnaise, Hollandaise, Bearnaise and other sauces which contain raw egg, as well as meringue.

Trust your senses as described above. Above all, if after following through with these precautions the food doesn't taste right or makes you nauseous, stop eating and (politely) get it out of your Mouth

How to prevent food poisoning in restaurants has some very good suggestions.  Here's one I never knew:
According to the Food Poison Journal, restaurant-goers should never eat fish on Monday.

Why?

Because chances are the chef bought the fish for the busy Saturday night. If it didn’t sell out, then it likely sat in the fridge all day Sunday. By the time you’re there on Monday night, it’s way, WAY on its last legs.

Remedies to Prevent Various Types of Food Poisoning has just a few extra tips that were not covered in the other links and it has some very good "additional resources" links at the end of the article.

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Finally, I read about this New grilling hazard: swallowing cleaning-brush bristles.  No kidding.

Doctors at one Rhode Island hospital have counted a dozen cases of people injured by wayward bristles in grilled food -- suggesting it's not an uncommon occurrence, CDC says. In the most recent six cases, the CDC report says, "the severity of injury ranged from puncture of the soft tissues of the neck, causing severe pain on swallowing, to perforation of the gastrointestinal tract requiring emergent surgery."
To wrap things up I'm offering you 14 horribly unappetizing vintage food ideas simply for the cheap laughs.

Originally posted to MOT - Morning Open Thread on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 03:30 AM PDT.

Also republished by J Town.

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