Most food poisoning is caused by bacteria, but you can also have food poisoning signs if you ingest poisonous toxins from foods such as certain types of mushrooms or shellfish, or if you eat seafood harvested from contaminated water. This type of food poisoning is an emergency and you need treatment immediately.
The signs and symptoms of bacterial food poisoning usually start within a few hours after you eat the contaminated food, but may take as long as a few days, depending upon which bacteria are making you sick. Food poisoning signs and symptoms include:
- abdominal cramps
- abdomen is tender to touch
Most cases of bacterial food poisoning can be prevented by following these food safety procedures:
- Wash your hands before cooking, before serving and before eating meals.
- Keep raw meat, eggs, and poultry away from any other foods that are ready to be served.
- Use clean knives, utensils and cutting boards, and don't cross contaminate raw meats and poultry with fruits and vegetables.
- Wash fresh fruits, vegetables and bagged greens.
- Keep cold food refrigerated under 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Hot cooked foods should be kept at 140 degrees or above.
- Beef, veal and lamb should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees.
- Pork and ground beef, veal and lamb should be cooked to 160 degrees.
- Poultry needs to be cooked to 165 degrees.
- Reheated food should be heated to 165 degrees before it's served.
U.S. Department of Agriculture. Food Safety and Inspection Service. "Foodborne Illness: What Consumers Need to Know." Accessed March 24, 2011. http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Fact_Sheets/Foodborne_Illness_What_Consumers_Need_to_Know/index.asp.
U.S. Department of Health and Human ServicesNational Institutes of Health. "Food Poisoning." Accessed March 24, 2011. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001652.htm.