Health officials say avoiding cross-contamination prevents food - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Health officials say avoiding cross-contamination prevents food poisoning

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"It's important to have everything clean," Zac Caldwell said. "Fresh vegetables just taste better anyway." "It's important to have everything clean," Zac Caldwell said. "Fresh vegetables just taste better anyway."
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) -

A cookout is a popular party for the 4th of July, but health officials say it comes with risks.

"There are several food borne illnesses out there," Amy Morris with Cape County Public Health said. "Some of the more popular ones or more prevalent ones are going to be E. Coli, Salmonella, Shigella, some viruses that can be transmitted as well. Hepatitis A, the Norovirus, which is like the stomach flu."

Morris says one of the best ways to prevent these illnesses is to avoid cross-contamination. 

"For instance if you have taken meat out on a tray, or a plate, then you take that cooked meat out and put it back on the same tray,those bacteria are there from the raw meat and now you've contaminated your cooked meat," Morris said. "So, you want to always keep your raw meat separated from your cooked meat, wash your vegetables very thoroughly. We have seen a lot of E. Coli associated with fresh vegetables lately. Also, wash your hands. Washing hands is one of the most important things you can do to help prevent the spread of disease."

One Heartland man says these are things he always does to help protect his family from food borne illnesses. 

"It's important to have everything clean," Zac Caldwell said. "Fresh vegetables just taste better anyway."

Morris says the signs of food borne illnesses vary.

"Symptoms and incubation times are both going to vary depending on which bacteria or microorganism is making you sick," Morris said. "Primarily they all have to do with gastrointestinal including vomiting and or diarrhea. Sometimes it can be the next morning, sometime sit can be a few days later. Some of those bacteria take a really long time to actually make you sick."

Health officials also suggest that food is not left sitting out for longer than four hours. They say it is best to keep track of the temperature of the food. They says hot food should not get below 135 degrees and cold food should not get above 41 degrees. 

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