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Food safety tips for your Thanksgiving celebration

Did you know that food safety is the most important ingredient in preparing food for the holidays? According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every year, an estimated 1 in 6 Americans (or 48 million people) get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die of foodborne diseases.

People who have consumed dangerous foodborne bacteria will usually feel symptoms within 1 to 3 days of eating the contaminated food. However, sickness can also occur as quickly as 20 minutes or up to 6 weeks later. Although most people will recover from a foodborne illness within a short period of time without medical care, some are not so fortunate. In some cases, foodborne illness can lead to chronic, severe, life-threatening health problems or even death.

This is especially true for people with weak immune systems including the very young, elderly, and people with diseases that weaken the immune system or who are on medicines that suppress the immune system. Pregnant women also need to be careful.

Food poisoning may cause symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, upset stomach, or nausea. See your doctor if you have:
- High fever (over 101.5°F)
- Blood in stools
- Diarrhea that lasts more than three days
- Frequent vomiting that prevents you from keeping liquid down
- Signs of dehydration (decrease in urination, dry mouth and throat, and feeling dizzy when standing up)

Tips to prevent food poisoning:

  • Clean - Wash your hands and work surfaces often.
  • Separate - Separate raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs from ready-to-eat foods in your shopping cart, refrigerator, and meal preparation area.
  • Cook - Cook food to the right internal temperature to kill harmful bacteria. Use a food thermometer.

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