Anyone who has dealt with the unpleasant side effects of food poisoning understands the desire to never again repeat the experience. Often misinterpreted as the stomach flu, food poisoning is actually caused by noroviruses. The viruses spread person-to-person on surfaces and through water, creating inflammation in the stomach and large intestine, resulting in vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramps.
And although alcohol-based sanitizers cannot kill the norovirus, there is some great news: prevention is as simple as washing hands, equipment and preparation surfaces with plenty of soap and hot water.
Prevention Tips directly from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- Use gloves and/or tongs on ready-to-eat foods instead of handling with bare hands
- Stay home when sick and don’t prepare foods for others when sick
- Clean and sanitize hands, equipment and supplies prior to and after touching food
- Don’t return to work until all symptoms are gone for 48 hours
Registered dietitian Carolyn O’Neil, and Dr. Michael Doyle, Director of the Center for Food Safety at the University of Georgia, offer more advice on keeping you and your family safe from foodborne illnesses.
Have you ever had food poisoning?