OSEA Safety Blog

Foodborne Illnesses

Wednesday, September 6, 2017 Michele Pratt

September is Food Safety Month. It’s estimated that foodborne diseases cause approximately 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths in the United States each year.

What is the most common food borne illness – what is the bacteria and viruses that cause the most illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths in the United States are:

  • Salmonella
  • Norovirus
  • Campylobacter
  • E. coli.
  • Listeria
  • Clostridium perfringens

What are the symptoms of a foodborne illness?

Vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, chills fatigue, sweating, eye swelling, difficulty breathing.

How do you know if you have food poisoning or if it’s the flu? Typically, if someone is exposed to a stomach bug symptoms present within 24 to 48 hours. If you have food poisoning the symptoms typically appear two to six hours after initial exposure.

What are some ways you can protect yourself from having food poisoning?

While shopping:

  • Don’t purchase food past any of the expiration dates
  • Never purchase meats or poultry if the package is torn or leaking
  • Purchase frozen and refrigerated items after non-perishables.

While handling:

  • Clean – wash your hands and surfaces
  • Separate – don’t cross contaminate
  • Cook – cook food to proper temperature
  • Chill- refrigerate promptly


  • As a rule, keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot
  • Perishable food shouldn’t be left out more than 2 hours at room temperature.


  • Use shallow containers for storage and put into refrigerator or freezer
  • Use cooked leftovers within 4 days.
  • Reheat leftovers to proper temperature.
  • Refreeze meat and poultry after defrosted in the refrigerator or after cooking.

*When in doubt – Throw it out!

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