Food poisoning commonly occurs from microbial growth in meat, fish and dairy products that have been allowed to stand at room temperature or in the outside heat for several hours before eating. A good rule of thumb is, "When in doubt, throw it out."

To reduce your risk of food poisoning:

  1. Wash your hands, utensils, and all food-preparation areas carefully.
  2. Don’t use plates or utensils that have touched raw meat or seafood for any other purpose, unless they have been washed in hot, soapy water.
  3. Marinate food in the refrigerator, not on a counter, and don't reuse marinade after it has been in contact with raw meat or seafood.
  4. Cook food thoroughly and use a food thermometer.
  5. Keep cold foods in a cooler, at a temperature of 40 degrees or lower until served and return foods to the cooler immediately after serving.
  6. Keep hot foods hot until served and then put into a cooler.
  7. Don’t leave food sitting out for more than an hour in temperatures above 90 degrees, and do not keep perishable food out longer than 2 hours.
  8. Wash raw vegetables and fruits well before eating.

Food poisoning symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea which may last for 12-24 hours. Drink plenty of fluids and do not take medicine for diarrhea. This is one way that the body gets rid of the bacteria.

 Those with prolonged symptoms, difficulty maintaining adequate fluid intake, bloody diarrhea, weakness, double vision, or a high fever need to be seen by a healthcare professional. Call 911 if an individual is passed out or having difficulty breathing or swallowing.

Call Carolinas Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222 if you think you have been exposed to contaminated food or have symptoms of food poisoning.