Food Poisoning Patient Information Fact Sheet

What causes food poisoning?
Raw produce or food that is not properly cooked can cause foodborne illness.  These foods can be contaminated with bacteria and viruses (Norovirus, Campylobacter, Salmonella, Staphylococcus or E. coli), parasites (Toxoplasma gondii), mold, or contain toxins (pesticides, mushroom toxin). An estimated 48 million cases of foodborne illness occur annually in the United States.

How do I get food poisoning?
Food poisoning may occur from consuming:

  • Raw fishes or oysters
  • Undercooked meats or eggs
  • Any food prepared using cooking utensils, cutting boards and other tools that are not fully cleaned
  • Water from a well or stream, or city or town water that has not been treated
  • Dairy products or food containing mayonnaise (eg, coleslaw or potato salad) that have been out of the refrigerator for too long

What are the symptoms of food poisoning?
Symptoms of food poisoning range from diarrhea to long-term health problems or even death. Common symptoms include nausea and vomiting, dehydration, watery, non-bloody diarrhea, fever, upset stomach and abdominal cramps. In most cases, symptoms go away on their own within 2–3 days. Contact your health care provider if the following occurs as your infection may be serious:

  • Diarrhea along with high fever ( > 101.5°F)
  • Blood in the stool
  • Unable to rehydrate because of consistent vomiting
  • Signs of dehydration (decrease in urination, dry mouth, and feeling dizzy when standing up, or having diarrhea for more than 3 days)
How is food poisoning treated?
  • Self-care: In most cases, food poisoning will go away after a few days. It is important to ensure adequate fluid and electrolyte balance by drinking more water and replenishing electrolytes.  Rehydralyte and Ceralyte are oral rehydration solutions available over the counter. Diluted fruit juice, soft drinks, broths or soups, and saltine crackers are also alternatives.
  • If you have diarrhea and are unable to keep down fluids, you may need to get fluids through a vein (by IV).
  • Most people fully recover from the most common types of food poisoning within 12–48 hours.
  • If symptoms get worse or persist for more than 7 days, consult your health care provider for antibiotic treatment. 

What are some preventative measures I can take?
Preventative steps can be taken to reduce the risk of food being contaminated with germs:

  • Clean up spills immediately and wash hands with soap and warm water
  • Separate raw meat, fish, and poultry from other food such as fruits and vegetables that will not be cooked
  • Cook food to a safe minimum temperature according to the reference chart below
  • Chill all food in the refrigerator or freezer accordingly. Don't leave meat, fish, poultry, or cooked food sitting for more than 2 hours at room temperature.

Other precautions you may take are:

  • Always check the “Sell-By” date (you should buy the product before the date expires)  and “Use-By” date (the last date recommended for the use of the product) of your food purchases
  • When traveling, keep cold food at about 40° F or below by placing food in a cooler with ice or frozen gel packs.
  • When eating out, ask if the food contains any uncooked ingredients and also ask how the food has been cooked.

Further Information
Food safety.gov: www.foodsafety.gov/poisoning/index.html

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: www.cdc.gov/features/befoodsafe/

USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service: www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/safe-food-handling/basics-for-handling-food-safely/ct_index

National Institutes of Health: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002618/#adam_001652.disease.symptoms

FDA: www.fda.gov/Food/FoodborneIllnessContaminants/PeopleAtRisk/ucm312565.htm.

Created May 2013

You may use the following two charts, “Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures” and “Meat and Poultry Roasting Chart” as reference to help minimize your risk of getting food poisoning.
Clinical Charts for Food Safety
1. Safe minimum cooking temperatures
http://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/charts/mintemp.html


SAFE MINIMUM COOKING TEMPERATURES

Category

Food

Temperature (°F)

Rest Time

Ground meat &meat mixtures

beef, pork, veal, lamb

160

none

turkey, chicken

165

none

Fresh beef, veal, lamb

steaks, roasts, chops

145

3 min

Poultry

chicken & turkey, whole

165

none

poultry breasts, roasts

165

none

poultry thighs, legs, wings

165

none

duck & goose

165

none

stuffing (cooked alone or in bird)

165

none

Pork and ham

fresh pork

145

3 min

fresh ham (raw)

145

3 min

precooked ham (to reheat)

140

none

Eggs & egg dishes

eggs

Cook until yolk and white are firm.

none

egg dishes

160

none

Leftovers & casseroles

leftovers

165

none

casseroles

165

none

Seafood

fin fish

145 or cook until flesh is opaque and separates easily with a fork.

none

shrimp, lobster, and crabs

Cook until flesh is pearly and opaque.

none

clams, oysters, and mussels

Cook until shells open during cooking.

none

scallops

Cook until flesh is milky white or opaque and firm.

none

 



2. Meat and poultry roasting chart
http://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/charts/meatchart.html

Meat and poultry roasting chart

 

 

Category

 

 

Meat

Oven Temp

(°F)

 

Timing (Approximate)

Safe Min Internal Temp (°F)

 

Rest Time

Beef, fresh

rib roast, bone in (4–6 lbs)

325

23–25 min per lb

145

3 min

 

rib roast, boneless, rolled (4–6 lbs)

325

28–33 min per lb

145

3 min

 

round or rump roast (2 ½–4 lbs)

325

30–35 min per lb

145

3 min

 

tenderloin, whole (4–6 lbs)

425

45–60 min total

145

3 min

Lamb, fresh

leg, bone in (5–7 lbs)

325

20–25 min per lb

145

3 min

 

leg, bone in (7–9 lbs)

325

15–20 min per lb

145

3 min

 

leg, boneless, rolled (4–7 lbs)

325

25–30 min per lb

145

3 min

Veal, fresh

shoulder roast, boneless (3–5 lbs)

325

35–40 min per lb

145

3 min

 

leg rump or round roast, boneless (3–5 lbs)

325

35–40 min per lb

145

3 min

Chicken, fresh

whole roasting hen (5–7 lbs)

350

2–2 ¼ hrs

165

none

breast, halves, bone-in (6–8 oz)

350

30–40 min

165

none

breast, halves, boneless (4 oz)

350

20–30 min

165

none

legs or thighs (4–8 oz)

350

40–50 min

165

none

Pork, fresh

 

loin roast, bone-in or boneless (2–5 lbs)

Tip: when cooked to safe temperatures, fresh pork may still be pink inside—but it will be safe.

325

20–30 min per lb

145

3 min

 

crown roast (4–6 lbs)

325

20–30 min per lb

145

3 min

 

tenderloin (½–1 ½ lbs)

425

20–30 min total

145

3 min

Ham, smoked

fresh, cook-before-eating, bone-in, whole (10–14 lbs)

325

18–20 min per lb

145

3 min

 

fresh, cook-before-eating, bone-in, half (5–7 lbs)

325

22–25 min per lb

145

3 min

 

fully cooked, bone-in, whole (10–14 lbs)

325

15–18 min per lb

140

none

 

fully cooked, bone-in, half (5–7 lbs)

325

18–24 min per lb

140

none

 

fully cooked, spiral cut, whole or half (7–9 lbs)

325

10–18 min per lb

140

none