Health Reporter Nearly Killed By Foodborne Illness: The Food Safety Tips You Need to Know

A health reporter who shared her story to Fox 5 News underwent an extremely terrifying and life-threatening experience after contracting a horrible foodborne illness.

Three days after a barbeque at a friend’s, she experienced abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting, along with other symptoms. She was immediately taken to the hospital where she was diagnosed with two disorders caused by an infection with E. coli: hemolytic uremic syndrome and thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura. Her kidneys and liver were failing and her red blood cells were forming small clots and blocking small blood vessels. The doctor told her she would only have a 15% chance of surviving the first night. After treatment in the intensive care unit for 10 days in the hospital, she was released.

The cause of her illness: a slightly undercooked hamburger. Even someone as cautious as this health reporter had not taken the internal temperature of the burger before consumption and had solely relied on the color of the inside of the burger – it seemed to have looked fully cooked.

Many people rely on the color of their meat to determine whether it is fully cooked through, but this method is not always reliable.

Here are some food safety tips you need to follow:

  • Rely on thermometers: Always check the internal temperature of your meats at the thickest part of the meat. Color and texture are not reliable indicators of how safe the food is.
    • 145⁰F – whole cuts of beef, pork or lamb.
    • 165⁰F – all poultry including ground poultry.
    • 160⁰F – all ground meats.
  • There is no “five-second rule”: If you drop food on the floor, you may have heard of the five-second rule, in which it is OK to pick up the food and eat it. However, bacteria can adhere to the food immediately upon contact. Any food dropped on the floor should not be eaten and should be thrown out immediately.
  • Keep it separate: separate raw meats and produce and use separate cutting boards, knives and other utensils when handling these products.
  • Monitor how long food is left out: When going food shopping, especially on a hot summer day, you have about an hour to get produce, meats and dairy to a refrigerator before bacteria will start to grow. Make sure you are not leaving your food in the hot car for too long and try to make your supermarket trip your last errand.

Foodborne illnesses can lead to serious complications and can even be lethal. Take proper precautions before purchasing or preparing food. It could save you and your family’s lives.

If you or a loved one has been sickened due to a contaminated or recalled food product, contact us immediately for help.

Read more on this shocking story.