The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that about 3,000 people die each year and 128,000 are hospitalized due to food poisoning. When foods are not washed, prepared or served properly, you could get sick from the germs you ingest along with the food. These pathogens may also be transferred from one food to another if the same knife or cutting boards are used. In addition, when people who are ill prepare food, they may also spread those germs to others.
Here are five common myths associated with food poisoning:
1. You got food poisoning from your most recent meal.
When you start experiencing food poisoning symptoms, the first question you typically ask is: “What did I eat most recently?” However, often, your most recent meal might not be the one to blame. The toxins that cause food poisoning could be produced in your intestines for days or weeks. So, what you ate most recently may not have caused your food poisoning.
2. Vegetarians don’t get food poisoning.
This is simply not true. According to recent studies of food-related illnesses, produce caused the greatest number of individual food-borne illnesses. This means that food poisoning is not only caused by meat but could be caused by leafy greens and vegetable as well. In fact, an e. coli outbreak in romaine lettuce has been linked to 286 illnesses across 286 states and 11 hospitalizations.
3. Looks don’t tell the whole story.
You cannot gauge whether or not food is properly cooked just by eyeballing it. It is important to cook the food to a safe internal thermometer and do so by using a food thermometer. You may also be able to use a temperature chart for a complete list of safe internal temperatures.
4. Refrigerated or frozen food doesn’t cause food poisoning.
While refrigeration and freezing may be able to relay pathogen reproduction on food, they don’t completely stop in. Bacteria may still grow at refrigerator temperatures. Be sure to reheat leftovers and ensure their internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit before eating them.
5. It’s OK to thaw meat on the counter.
Never do this. To make sure that your foods are safe, hot foods should be kept above 140 degrees and cold foods, below 40 degrees. When food are simply left out to thaw, they could produce bacteria very quickly.
If you or a loved one has suffered food poisoning as result of someone else’s negligence, you may be able to seek compensation to cover damages including medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, pain and suffering and emotional distress. An experienced California food poisoning lawyer will be able to advise you regarding your legal rights and options.