The American food supply is considered quite safe, but it’s not without flaws: about 1 in 6 Americans is impacted by foodborne illness or “food poisoning” every year, which can include gastrointestinal upset, dehydration, and, in rare cases, lead to hospitalization or death.
Many foodborne illnesses are caused by bacteria, most commonly Salmonella and Campylobacter. These bacteria grow rapidly in a temperature range known as the “Danger Zone” (40 to 140℉).
Though food poisoning is often associated with meat, illness-producing microbes such as Bacillus cereus can also grow in improperly stored starches such as rice, beans, and pasta. Read on to learn how to protect yourself.
To Keep Food Out of the Danger Zone:
To Safely Eat Leftovers:
McDowell RH, Sands EM, Friedman H. Bacillus Cereus. StatPearls Publishing. Sept 16, 2021.
Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Healthy People 2020. Accessed July 7 2022.
Tack DM, Ray L, Griffin PM, et al. Preliminary Incidence and Trends of Infections with Pathogens Transmitted Commonly Through Food — Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network, 10 U.S. Sites, 2016–2019. CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 2020;69(17):6.
USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service. Keep Food Safe! Food Safety Basics | Food Safety and Inspection Service. Updated December 20, 2016. Accessed July 2022.
USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service. Leftovers and Food Safety. Updated July 31, 2020. Accessed July 2022.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Safe Minimal Internal Temperatures. Published August 2017. Accessed July 2022.
U.S. Food & Drug Administration. What You Need to Know about Foodborne Illnesses. February 17, 2022. Accessed July 2022.
By Avery Lorio, MGH Dietetic Intern