ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea. 48 million people every year experience these symptoms of foodborne illness, or food poisoning, and severe cases can land you in the hospital or even worse. Foodborne illness typically happens when you eat foods that have been contaminated due to unsafe handling. Ivanhoe has the food safety mistakes you should stop doing right now to avoid getting sick. 

Even if you’ve washed your hands, produce, and utensils before cooking, have you washed your reusable grocery bags? Researchers found uncooked meat juices on 41 percent of grocery bags, so not washing your bag can spread bacteria to the rest of your food before even leaving the store. Another mistake you could be making is not sanitizing your kitchen counter. Listeria can stay on kitchen counters for up to six days and wiping down your counters will not get rid of the bacteria. You will need to use a disinfecting spray and let it sit long enough to kill the germs. Where you put raw meat in your fridge could also cause a problem.

Joe Kivett, Author, The Food Safety Book says, “You’ve got that package of chicken and let’s say you put it on the top shelf and it starts to leak and now it’s leaked into your produce drawer.” Spreading bacteria to your fruits and vegetables. Instead, wrap meat in an additional plastic bag and then store in the bottom of the fridge. And never leave food out for too long. 

Kivett says, “The key thing to remember is make sure that food is not in the danger zone for more than two hours. The danger zone is temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees.”

With tips to keep you out of the danger zone for food poisoning.

One more food safety mistake to avoid: not washing fruits and vegetables with inedible skins. The FDA found listeria on the skins of 17 percent of avocados they tested, which can transfer to the edible pulp of the avocado when cutting or peeling. So, it would be a good idea to wash the skins of produces like avocados, watermelons, and pineapples before consuming.

Contributors to this news report include: Milvionne Chery, Producer; Bob Walko, Editor.