Food poisoning is a common health problem yet there are many myths people still believe. One popular myth is that you’ll get sick right away and you can blame your last meal. But it all depends on what you get sick with. The staphylococcus bacteria will make you sick within 1 to 6 hours, but if you get E. coli, that can take up to 8 days before you feel ill. And noroviruses can take anywhere between 12 and 48 hours to hit.
The CDC tells us that 1 in 6 Americans get sick from food poisoning and 3,000 die every year. Another very common myth is blaming the mayo. Commercial mayonnaise has high acid content and this may slow or prevent bacterial growth. People also believe that fruit with the rind left on like watermelons is safe to eat. But listeria bacteria can live on the rind of fruit and cause serious problems.
It’s important not to ignore what’s called “the danger zone”. That’s when the temperature is between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Any bacteria in food that is sitting out will grow much faster. To help you avoid food poisoning, here are my prescriptions:
1. Foods should not sit out for more than 2 hours. However this drops to one hour if the temperature soars to 90 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.
2. If you’re not sure how long food has been sitting out in the heat, follow this well-known rule: If in doubt, throw it out.
3. When you mix mayonnaise with foods like potatoes or pasta, be sure to keep these dishes cool, below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
4. Wash all produce under clean running water even if you plan to cut or peel it. It’s the best way to remove bacteria safely.
No food poisoning symptoms are the same. They are connected to the kind of bacteria, virus or parasite you’ve been infected with. However, common symptoms people experience include diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.