Years ago I ate a bad crab salad (from a hospital cafeteria of all places) and ended up with salmonella poisoning. I will spare you the details, but it was not fun. Since then, I have been extra cautious about the food that I buy and how I prepare it. I certainly don’t want to experience food poisoning again! I also don’t want my children to go through that.
Children aged five and under are at an increased risk of contracting food poisoning, and since their immune systems are not fully developed, they are less able to fight off harmful bacteria. As a result, they can end up with very serious health complications like Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome, a type of kidney failure and blood disorder that can be fatal. These illnesses are almost entirely preventable with proper food handling.
You can protect your little one from food poisoning by taking simple precautions, such as avoiding feeding your child certain foods and by following safe food handling practices. Here are some simple steps:
- Keep meat separate from other foods when shopping and storing it
- Purchase your cold and frozen foods at the end of your shopping trips
- Keep your hands and surfaces clean when handling and preparing food
- Wash all produce in water and use a vegetable scrub brush on produce that have a firm skin, such as carrots, potatoes, melons and squash
- Use a thermometer to ensure your raw meat, poultry, fish and seafood reach the appropriate temperature when cooking
- Do not refreeze meat after thawing
- Store food in the refrigerator as soon as possible, it is not necessary to leave food to cool off first
- Do not let children touch raw meat, poultry or fish
- Avoid serving raw alfalfa or bean sprouts to your children
- Never give your child foods containing raw eggs (e.g. cookie dough, cake batter)
- Serve only pasteurized milk and juice to your child
Most importantly, educate your children about food safety so that they can carry on the tradition of safe food handling!
You can find even more food safety tips and safe food alternatives at Canada.ca/FoodSafety.
This post is brought to you by Health Canada; however, the opinions and language are my own, and in no way do they reflect those of Health Canada.