Ask Food: Avoiding foodborne illnesses

Want to avoid foodborne illnesses? Here are the top five foodborne illnesses and what you can do to stop them.


Improperly cooked poultry and cross-contamination are the typical reasons why someone becomes ill with this pathogen. Your best bet is to cook poultry to proper temperatures and to keep raw food separate from other food and surfaces.


Toxoplasma is especially dangerous to pregnant women and developing fetuses, as it poses a serious risk for stillbirth or infants born with physical and mental disabilities. It is commonly found in pork and beef. Cook meat to proper temperatures and wash hands thoroughly after handling raw meat.


Commonly found in deli meats and soft cheeses like brie. Preventing cross-contamination is important to prevent listeria. This means using a separate knife and cutting board to slice cheese and other foods. When talking deli meats, it's important to buy small amounts at a time and not let it hang out in the refrigerator for more than two to three days.


Commonly found in poultry, eggs and produce. It's important to wash your hands before handling raw poultry and eggs. Keep anything that touches the raw food -- like cutting boards, knives and plates -- separate from cooked foods or ready-to-eat foods like fruits and veggies. Use a thermometer to make sure chicken and eggs are cooked to the proper temperatures.


Commonly found in store-bought or homemade prepared foods like salads and sandwiches.

Norovirus is commonly spread from people who have the illness and don't wash their hands properly after using the restroom. If you are showing symptoms of a stomach bug, including vomiting and diarrhea, it's best to have someone else prepare the food.

Courtesy Toby Amidor on


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