Food safety refers to the conditions and practices that preserve the quality of food to prevent contamination and foodborne illnesses.
Food can be contaminated in many different ways. Some food products may already contain bacteria or parasites. The germs can be spread during the packaging process if the food products are not handled properly. Failure to cook or store the food properly can cause further contamination.
Properly handling and preparing food greatly reduces the risks of getting foodborne illnesses.
All foods can become contaminated. Higher risk foods include red meats, poultry, eggs, cheese, dairy products, raw sprouts, and raw fish or shellfish.
Poor food handling and inadequate food safety can cause infection (foodborne illness). Symptoms of foodborne illness vary, but usually include stomach problems. Foodborne illness may be severe and life-threatening, especially in young children, older adults, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems.
Food - hygiene and sanitation
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Redmond EC, Griffith CJ. Consumer food handling in the home: a review of food safety studies. J Food Prot. 2003;66(1):130-161.
Updated by: Jeffrey Heit, MD, Internist with special emphasis on preventive health, fitness and nutrition, Philadelphia VA Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
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