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Being pregnant

Combat E. coli

A few simple food-handling habits, diligently applied, will keep E. coli and other germs away

By Ellen Desjardins
Combat E. coli

The last thing you need when you’re pregnant is a bout of food poisoning. Your body uses a lot of energy to grow a baby, which means your immune system isn’t as vigilant as it is when you’re not pregnant. So take extra care to protect yourself againstinfection from food-borne germs, such as E. coli, which spread via contaminated food, causing flu-like illness within two to 10 days.

A few simple food-handling habits, diligently applied, will keep E. coli and other germs away:

Chill
• Refrigerate or freeze meat, poultry and fish right after you buy it.
• Thaw food in the fridge or in the microwave, not on the counter.
• Marinate foods in the fridge, not at room temperature. Discard the marinade.
• Refrigerate leftovers as soon as possible.

Separate
• Store meat separately from other foods in the fridge.
• Use separate work surfaces and utensils for preparing raw meat, poultry or fish and foods that will be eaten uncooked (bread, salad, fruit, etc.).

Clean
• Wash your hands with soap before and after handling food.
• Wash dishes and countertops that were in contact with meat, poultry or fish using hot soapy water.
• Wash all fruits and vegetables before eating.

Cook
• Cook poultry and ground beef thoroughly until no longer pink and juices run clear.
• Parboil chicken before putting it on the grill.
• Cook fish and other seafood thoroughly, until milky white and firm.

This article was originally published on Nov 16, 2006

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