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Bad Bugs: Facts About Food Safety (Part 3)
November 19, 2012
Over the past two weeks, I’ve highlighted some of the big players (bacteria and viruses) that lurk in our food. I’m thinking that you get the message and you probably don’t want to hear more! But it’s a topic of importance for everyone, especially people with diabetes. So here are a few key facts and reminders to keep in mind:
• The food in the US is among the safest in the world, but it’s still susceptible to contamination.
• Every year, approximately 48 million Americans get sick from foodborne illness, according to the CDC.
• Having diabetes puts you at greater risk for contracting a foodborne illness and can make it more difficult to fight off. This is, in part, due to the fact that your immune system may not be able to fend off harmful bacteria or viruses; if you have gastroparesis (slow stomach emptying), foods that are contaminated hang around in your GI tract longer; and if your kidneys aren’t in tip-top shape, they may not be able to filter out harmful bugs and toxins as well as they should.
So while the topic may not be exciting to you, it’s probably worth paying closer attention to how you store and prepare your food, how it’s cooked, and of course, what you eat.
Eat With Caution
• Raw or undercooked meat, poultry, and seafood
• Steak and roasts: 145°F
Cook eggs until both the whites and the yolk are firm (not runny!). Also, if you’re reheating leftovers, heat until the inside temperature reaches 165°F.
Leftovers don’t keep forever, so use this as a guide for how long to keep your food in the fridge:
• Cooked meat and fish dishes: 3–4 days
For more information on food safety, check out this excellent USDA guide issued by UC Davis.
May your Thanksgiving holiday be enjoyable and safe!
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