Prevention of Food Borne Illness at Home and in Institutions

The World Health Organization has issued ten guidelines for developing culture-specific food-safety education:

  1. Choose foods processed for safety, such as pasteurized dairy products and juices, or meat and poultry treated with ionizing radiation.
  2. Cook food thoroughly—cook roasts to 145°F, ground beef to 160°F, and poultry to 180°F. Cook eggs until yolks and whites are firm. Use a meat thermometer.
  3. Eat cooked foods immediately—food-borne organisms reproduce rapidly as food cools to room temperature.
  4. Store cooked foods carefully—cooked foods should be held below 40°F or above 140°F.
  5. Reheat cooked foods thoroughly—reheat all cooked foods to 165°F.
  6. Avoid contact between raw foods and cooked foods—contact surfaces include cutting boards, utensils, and hands.
  7. Wash hands repeatedly. Washing hands with warm water and soap before handing foods, after every interruption, and between handling raw and cooked foods is the most effective way to prevent food-borne illness.
  8. Keep all kitchen surfaces meticulously clean—every food scrap, crumb, or dirty spot is a potential reservoir for organisms.
  9. Protect foods from pests. Insects, rodents, and other animals frequently carry organisms that can cause food-borne illness.
  10. Use safe water. If there is any doubt of the safety of the water supply, boil water before drinking it, using it in food preparation, or making ice.

The Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) system is used by institutions to anticipate and prevent food safety violations before they occur. HACCP flowcharts allow food managers to identify the critical control points, which are operations (practice, preparation step, or procedure) in the production of a food, and to make corrections as needed to prevent or eliminate hazards, or reduce them to acceptable levels. HACCP recipes provide detailed guidelines to food-service workers, and records assist health department personnel as they perform routine inspections of a facility. see also Additives and Preservatives; Food Safety; Illnesses, Food-Borne; Pesticides.

M. Elizabeth Kunkel Barbara H. D. Luccia


Cody, Mildred, and Kunkel, M. Elizabeth (2002). Food Safety for Professionals, 2nd edition. Chicago: American Dietetic Association.

Marriott, Norma G. (1999). Principles of Food Sanitation, 4th edition. Gaithersburg, MD: Aspen.

implications of long-term exposure to such toxins are poorly understood. Although not considered food-borne organisms, cleaning solutions, some food additives, pesticides, herbicides, and heavy metals may also cause illness associated with ingestion of contaminated food.

McSwane, David; Rue, Nancy; and Linton, Richard (1998). Essentials of Food Safety and Sanitation. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Scott, Elizabeth, and Sockett, Paul (1998). How to Prevent Food Poisoning: A Practical Guide to Safe Cooking, Eating, and Food Handling. New York: John Wiley.

World Health Organization (2002). Emerging Foodborne Diseases. Geneva: Author.

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