13 Ways to Prevent Foodborne Illness Outbreaks

13 Ways to Prevent Foodborne Illness Outbreaks

Foodborne illness is a disease from food contamination, usually accompanied by vomiting, stomach ache, nausea, and diarrhea in some cases. While many factors contribute to its outbreaks, Foodborne illness which is also known as food disease is rampant due to the negligence of food handlers and consumers.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Nearly 1 in 10 people around the world fall sick after eating food contaminated by viruses, parasites, or bacteria every year, and the major symptom experienced is diarrhea. With this estimate, we can conclude that foodborne illness is a big deal that needs attention to be corrected as soon as possible.

In this article, we shall be looking at the causes of foodborne illness and also, different ways through which foodborne illness can be prevented.

13 Ways to Prevent Foodborne Illness Outbreaks
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Factors Causing foodborne illness outbreaks

1. Not following food regulations:

One of the misconceptions about not following food regulations is that it makes work faster and easier for employees. Some food service companies believe that following food regulations will delay work, therefore, they result in making and dishing food without following the due process to prevent food poisoning.

Some important food regulations that can help prevent food contamination are but are not limited to wearing hand gloves, wearing a nose mask, washing hands with soap and water, and separating raw and cooked foods (to prevent cross-contamination).

2. Lack of employees training:

Lack of employee training is another cause of foodborne illness outbreaks. There is a need for every food handler to know the rules of food preparation in other to prevent food from being contaminated before getting to the consumer.

In restaurants and other food outlets, food handlers are the ones in charge of making and serving food. It is easier for food handlers to get food contaminated by touching the food with unwashed or dirty hands.

3. Infectious Organisms:

Bacteria and viruses are the most common organisms that contaminate food and cause foodborne illness. Even though there are ways to identify food spoilage bacteria in the food, the rate at which people eat contaminated food is still alarming.

Food can be contaminated by these infectious organisms through uncovered food, dirty hands, and expired food products.

4. Inadequate Cooking:

Undone food is one of the characteristics of foods that make people sick. When food is not properly cooked, it can lead to things like diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting; which are major symptoms of foodborne illness.

5. Expired food products:

Outdated or expired food ingredients are also factors causing foodborne illness. If there is any doubt about the safety of food or food products, it is best not to use them to make food because it can cause contamination. One of the food sanitation rules includes disposing of any expired food or food products in the house.

Other Factors that can cause foodborne illness are;

• Infected person,
• Combination of raw and cooked food,
• Leftovers,
• Cross-contamination, etc.

How to prevent foodborne illness outbreaks

You can prevent foodborne illness in these 13 simple ways;

1. Practice good hygiene:

Wash your hands, utensils, and surfaces before and after food preparation. Keep raw meats and eggs away from cooked foods and ready-to-eat foods.

2. Cook food to a safe temperature:

The internal temperature needs to reach 165°F for it to be safe to eat.

3. Handle food carefully and cool it quickly:

If you are not going to eat the food immediately, keep it cold. Keep the food out of the “danger zone”.

4. Food selection:

Avoid raw or undercooked meat, seafood, or eggs that may contain harmful bacteria.

5. Thorough Cooking:

Thoroughly cook all meats, poultry, and eggs. Make sure all food is thoroughly cooked before dishing.

6. Cooking Time:

Cook raw seafood only for very short periods.

7. Food selection II:

Keep raw meats separate from vegetables and other foods.

8. Hand washing:

Thoroughly wash hands before and after preparing food.

8. Disinfection:

Perform disinfection by cleaning food contact surfaces and utensils (such as countertops, cutting boards, dishes, and kitchen utensils) with hot soapy water after contact with raw meat, poultry, or seafood.

9. Food Selection III:

Separate raw and cooked foods. Avoid serving/dishing cooked food on the same plate where raw foods are placed.

10. Avoid Expired Food products:

Use food and food products before they expire. When expired, do not use it to prepare food.

11. Keep pets away:

Keep pets and animals away from the environment where food is made. You don't know where your pets might have visited and what they are carrying. To be on the safer side, kindly keep them away while making food. Food handlers can keep pests away by using insecticide and taking care of both indoor and outdoor dumpsters.

12. Avoiding unpasteurized foods:

Raw unpasteurized foods such as Milk, cheese, and ice cream can cause illness because these foods and products can contain harmful bacteria including, Listeria and Salmonella.

13. Avoid cross-contamination:

Keep infected person, utensils, and food, out of non-infected.


The foodborne illness rate may keep increasing until we take action to curb it. Following the food regulations, proper staff training, and avoiding expired food products will go a long way in preventing foodborne illness. It is our responsibility to make sure that food is safe for consumption.

My name is Emmanuel. I'm a Nurse and a food lover. I have worked with many food blogs in the past before creating InfoTipsBlog to share food safety tips.

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