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Avoid food poisoning this Super Bowl Sunday

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla.

As millions of Americans prepare for Super Bowl celebrations on Sunday, the Florida/USVI Poison Information Center - Jacksonville (FPICJAX), along with the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC), encourage the public to take a few simple food safety precautions in order to prevent food poisoning.

According to Nielsen, approximately 114.4 million people tuned in to watch last year’s Super Bowl, making it the most watched broadcast in U.S. television history.

“While the Super Bowl is a time for families and friends to gather, watch football, and enjoy a meal or snacks together, it is also a time when America’s poison centers are especially concerned about the increased risk of food poisoning,” said Stephen T. Kaminski, JD, CEO and Executive Director of the AAPCC. “By taking a few extra precautions when preparing, cooking, and storing food, you can assure that you and your loved ones have a delicious and safe celebration.”

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated one in six, or 48 million people contract food poisoning each year, with approximately 128,000 of those people being hospitalized and 3,000 dying of illnesses associated with food poisoning.

America’s 55 poison centers play an important role in helping to prevent food poisoning by promoting safe food preparation and storage strategies, as well as assisting callers who suspect they are at risk of developing foodborne illness or are exhibiting symptoms of food poisoning.

Between 2014 and 2015, poison centers managed almost 60,000 such exposure cases, as
well as assisted over 30,000 callers by providing information on food poisoning and food recalls.

Symptoms of food poisoning usually appear within hours of eating contaminated food, and often include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pains, and diarrhea. Food poisoning symptoms can last anywhere from a few hours to several days. While most food poisoning cases are mild and resolve without medical care, some episodes can be more severe and require expert treatment advice.

“By saving the Poison Help line, 1-800-222-1222, into your mobile telephone, you always have a poison center expert available at the touch of your fingertips,” said Kaminski.

The following food safety tips below can help keep you poison safe as you prepare to enjoy your Super Bowl meals:

PREPARE:

· Keep meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs separate from all other foods in your grocery bags, in the refrigerator, and while prepping.
· Wash your hands, kitchen surfaces, utensils, and cutting boards frequently, especially after handling or preparing uncooked food and before touching or eating other foods. Wash produce but not eggs, meat, or poultry, which can spread harmful bacteria.
· Use the microwave, cold water, or the refrigerator method to defrost your frozen meat or poultry. Do not thaw
or marinate these items on the counter, and be sure to cook them immediately after thawing.
 

COOK:
· The bacteria that cause food poisoning multiply quickest in the ‘Danger Zone,’ which is between 40 °F and 140 °F. In general, keep hot food hot, and cold food cold.
· Use a food thermometer to check if meat is fully cooked and heated high enough to kill harmful bacteria. Cook raw beef, pork, lamb and veal steaks, chops, and roasts to 145 °F. Cook raw ground beef, pork, lamb, and veal to 160 °F. Cook raw poultry to 165 °F.
· After cooking is complete, allow meat to rest for several minutes before cutting or consuming.
 

STORE:
· Refrigerate leftovers promptly – within two hours – at 40 °F or below to help reduce the risk of bacterial growth.
· Prevent cross-contamination by completely and securely covering foods in the refrigerator.
· Consume or freeze leftovers within 3-4 days.

During the excitement of sporting events, alcohol safety is also an important consideration. Last year, poison centers managed approximately 11,000 cases of alcohol exposure in children under six.

Even a small amount of ingested alcohol can cause distress to a child’s central nervous system. Adults should take special care to keep wine, beer, liquor and other alcoholic beverages up, out of sight and reach from children.

For more Super Bowl safety tips, visit AAPCC’s Food & Mushroom Poisoning Prevention Web page at http://www.aapcc.org/prevention/food-mushroom-poisoning/.

If you have a poisoning emergency or a poison related question, immediately call your poison center, toll-free, at 1-800-222-1222. Health care professionals will assist you with free and confidential information and treatment advice 24 hours per day, seven days a week, year-round.