• By Jason Howland

Mayo Clinic Minute: How to avoid foodborne illness

July 24, 2018

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 48 million people in the U.S. get sick every year from food poisoning, also called foodborne illness. And more than 128,000 Americans are hospitalized and 3,000 die from foodborne diseases.

Dr. Pritish Tosh, a Mayo Clinic infectious diseases specialist, says prevention is especially important in your kitchen when it comes to food safety.

Watch: The Mayo Clinic Minute

Journalists: Broadcast-quality video pkg (0:59) is in the downloads. Read the script.

"There are things about food handling practices within your own kitchen that can help prevent infectious outbreaks of diarrheal diseases," says Dr. Tosh.

He says the majority of foodborne illnesses in your kitchen are caused by cross-contamination of raw meat.

"If you have raw meats, handle them carefully," says Dr. Tosh. "Do not allow the juices or whatever to come in contact with foods you're about to eat raw."

He says when preparing food, hand-washing is crucial. "[It's] absolutely important that, when you go from the handling of the meat to handling really anything else, you are washing your hands."

The bacteria you get on your hands from handling a raw piece of chicken can contaminate not only other foods, but also anything else in the kitchen you touch, like a spoon or the countertop.

"The bacteria can stay on that and then cross-contaminate something that's going to then touch that spoon or that countertop, and then transmit the bacteria to somebody," says Dr. Tosh.

To avoid these bacteria, anything that could be washed in the kitchen should be washed, including your food and hands.

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