Parties, family dinners, and other gatherings where food is served are all part of the holiday cheer. But the merriment can change to misery if food makes you or others ill. The FDA has therefore issued a list of useful tips for avoiding foodborne illnesses.
Typical symptoms of foodborne illness are vomiting, diarrhea, and flu-like symptoms, which can start anywhere from hours to days after contaminated food or drinks are consumed. The symptoms usually are not long-lasting in healthy people—a few hours or a few days—and usually go away without medical treatment.
But foodborne illness can be severe and even life-threatening to anyone, especially those most at risk:
– older adults
– infants and young children
– pregnant women
– people with HIV/AIDS, cancer, or any condition that weakens their immune system
– people who take medicines that suppress the immune system; for example, some medicines for rheumatoid arthritis
Combating bacteria, viruses, parasites, and other contaminants in our food supply is a high priority for the Food and Drug Administration. But consumers have a role to play, too, especially when it comes to safe food-handling practices in the home.
“The good news is that practicing four basic food safety measures can help prevent foodborne illness,” says Marjorie Davidson, a consumer educator at FDA.