Health Report: Unsafe food handling leads to illness; take these steps to prevent it

Foodborne illness typically happens when you eat foods that have been contaminated due to unsafe handling.

Severe cases can land you in the hospital or even worse.

Even if you’ve washed your hands, produce and utensils before cooking, have you washed your reusable grocery bags?

Researchers found raw meat juices on 41% of grocery bags, so not washing your bag can spread bacteria to the rest of your food before even leaving the store.

Another mistake you could be making is not sanitizing your kitchen counter. Listeria can stay on kitchen counters for up to six days and wiping down your counters will not get rid of the bacteria.

You will need to use a disinfecting spray and let it sit long enough to kill the germs. And where you put raw meat in your fridge could also cause a problem.

“You’ve got that package of chicken and let’s say you put it on the top shelf and it starts to leak and now it’s leaked into your produce drawer,” said Joe Kivett, author of “The Food Safety Book.”

That can spread bacteria to your fruits and vegetables. Instead, wrap meat in an additional plastic bag and then store it in the bottom of the fridge. And never leave food out for too long.

“The key thing to remember is: make sure that food is not in the danger zone for more than two hours. The danger zone is temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees,” said Kivett.

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