You may be wondering why I am talking about so much food safety lately. For one, this is the time of year where in all parts of the country the temp has reached its max and folks will still treat food like it is safe to eat when it is 30 degrees out. So I would just like to share my personal fave “food-borne illness” story with you so you can think about throwing up today! Here’s the thing about getting sick with diarrhea, fever or the throw ups from food: IT DOES NOT ALWAYS COME FROM THE LAST FOOD YOU ATE!
Here comes my personal story: this happened 8 years ago when 1. My oldest was 5 months old 2. My sister was living with us 3. I had not gotten sick (except once in that pregnancy) in over 10 years.
It started with my husband (who is famous for his impromptu gagging—love you, Kevin!). He started throwing up one night from what I thought was heartburn or stress or something else-he throws up quite easily and I am not fazed by it-tmi? But then I started feeling the quesies in the night and was feeling like our dinner of homemade chicken soup with vegetables and cheese tortellini was not going south! Well, sure enough by the time I got up the next morning, I vomited once and thought I felt better. I was working very part time at this point but was scheduled to work that morning….so I trucked on. Grandma was coming over to watch the baby for a few hours while I went to work. Well, I lasted about an hour or so. Got sick at work and called Grandma to say I was coming back. So meanwhile Grandma tells me that my sister had been lying on the cold bathroom floor trying to find relief…what?! So 3 people were sick at the same time and the baby was happy as a lark (breasted only at that point!). He never got sick. Everyone was back to normal that night, but we were all questioning each other’s food intake from the previous day. My sister never ate that soup, but that was what I threw up (12 hours later!) and thought for sure she ate it too. Grandma never got sick, so it wasn’t contagious. So unfortunately we really never figured out what the culprit was, but because it came on quick, moved through our digestive system pretty quickly, we knew it was from something we ate: probably 3 to 4 days prior. So here’s the take home message. We don’t like to get sick, right? There are stomach bugs that go around, but to prevent an illness that is in our control…we want to do that, right? Here is what we can do to keep ourselves safe from puking and having stomach cramps:
- Wash hands before you eat and wash hands between cooking with fresh and cooked foods. With soap.
- Get a food thermometer and go to homefoodsafety.org to see what temps your foods need to be cooked to and reheated to (hint: 165 degrees is a good place to start).
- If it smells “off”, pitch it. Don’t cook more than you can chill or freeze within an hour. Don’t waste food, either—-that’s a money waster too.
- Look at the temp of your fridge. It better be 40 degrees or less! Check labels, like this pic: if the date is past, you may want to pitch it. ConAgra Foods created the homefoodsafety.org website with the American Dietetic Association. It is a great tool you can use to prevent illness!