(WebMD) Food poisoning is a common, yet distressing and sometimes life-threatening problem.
People infected with food-borne organisms may be symptom-free or may have symptoms ranging from mild intestinal discomfort to severe dehydration and bloody diarrhea.
Listeria: Raw Fruits and Vegetables
Listeria bacteria can contaminate fresh produce, like cantaloupes, as well as some processed foods, like cheeses.
Symptoms of infection include fever, muscle aches, upset stomach, or diarrhea — occurring 2 days to 2 months after exposure.
Safety: Scrub raw produce and dry before cutting. Store in fridge below 40 F. Clean everything in contact with a whole melon.
Salmonella: Poultry and Eggs
Salmonella bacteria can taint any food, although there’s a greater risk from animal products because of contact with animal feces.
In chickens, it can infect eggs before the shell forms, so even clean, fresh eggs may harbor salmonella.
Symptoms include stomach cramps, fever, and diarrhea 12 to 72 hours after exposure. Illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days.
Safety: Never eat raw or lightly cooked eggs. Cook poultry to 165 F. Keep raw poultry separate from cooked poultry and other foods. Wash hands, cutting boards, utensils, and countertops after handling.
E. coli: Ground Beef
E. coli lives in the intestines of cattle and can contaminate beef during the slaughtering process.
Ground beef is especially risky, because the bacteria can spread when meat is ground up. Symptoms of E. coli infection include severe abdominal cramps, watery diarrhea, and vomiting.
The illness typically develops several days after exposure and can be severe in vulnerable people. It lasts about a week.
Safety: Cook meat thoroughly (160 F, no pink in the center). Do not put a cooked burger back on a plate that held raw meat. Wash utensils, including the meat thermometer, with warm, soapy water.
See the full list at WebMD.