Food Poisoning

YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED is happy to answer your questions of a general nature about food safety, foodborne illnesses, food allergies and other, related topics. We may determine that some questions are beyond our scope. Also, visitors to should remember that nothing contained on this or any other page of the website is intended as medical or legal advice.

Please use the
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If you or a family member has suffered from food poisoning,
and you have a question about your legal rights,you can request a free case evaluation from our firm by clicking on Free Case Evaluation.
Question 1:
How can I tell the difference between stomach flu and food poisoning?
Whether you’ve got the flu (especially what is commonly called a “stomach bug”) or food poisoning, you may be experiencing nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea. Headache, stomach cramps, muscle pain, fever and other symptoms may also accompany either illness. The good news is that both illnesses are treated in similar ways: rest, hydration and, in some cases, medication.

But a diagnosis of one or the other illness may be helpful so that you know what to expect and what treatment to seek. Symptoms of food poisoning usually appear within two to 24 hours after ingesting a contaminated food product. The flu may come on within one to ten days of exposure to another individual with the disease. Figuring out if you’ve come in contact with another person with the flu, or if, alternatively, other people you’ve been sharing meals with have the same symptoms you do can help in a determination of the cause of your illness.

However, regardless of the cause, you should consult a doctor if your symptoms are moderate to severe and/or last for more than 24 hours. It may be difficult to determine what brought on a bout of gastroenteritis, but a healthcare professional also may be able to help you in that regard.

Question 2:
What’s the difference among the types of dates (“sell by,” “best by,” etc.) stamped on food packages?
The “sell by” date is the last day the food should be sold by the grocery store. The manufacturer determines this date. It means that the food can remain, properly stored, in your home for some time. The “sell by” date is not a use date.

The “before” date or “best if used by” date gives purchasers some indication of when the food product will no longer be of optimal quality or freshness. Sometimes, this date may be written as “best if consumed by.” But food marked with this date can still be used after the date has passed.

Some foods have a “packaged on” date, which indicates when the item was processed or packaged. This date can be used to determine which package of a given food item is fresher.

The “expiration date” is the most important date stamped on a food package. It provides consumers with information about the last date that the food should be eaten. This information may also read: “use by” or “do not use after.” Food should be discarded if the expiration date has passed.

Remember that packaging dates can be given in a variety of forms. Sometimes the month is written (September) and sometimes given as a number (9). The packaging date September 1, 2006 may be written:

Sept. 9 ‘06
9 1 06
or even, 9 1
Question 3:
Do I need to be more careful about food safety during the summer months?
Yes. The incidence of foodborne illness increases during the warmer months of the year for a variety of reasons:
Bacteria grow faster in hot, humid weather, and many types of foodborne bacteria grow fastest at temperatures between 90-110 °F;

It’s simply not possible to be as careful with outdoor cooking during the summer months as with indoor cooking in kitchens equipped with refrigerators, running water and thermostat-controlled cooking.

But increased vigilance can help prevent the spread of foodborne illness even during the summer. Many of the following tips should be used year-round, with special attention paid to them during the warmer months:

Wash hands with hot, soapy water before and after touching food and after using the bathroom, changing diapers or interacting with pets (Summertime Tip: if you’re going to be somewhere without clean, running water, bring pre-moistened towelettes, water and paper towels or dish clothes with you from home.);

Poultry and meat should be cooked completely and to the proper temperature (Summertime Tip: bring a meat thermometer with you from home to check the internal temperature of cooked meats.);

Perishable food must be kept cold (Summertime Tip: pack uncooked or cooked meats and poultry and items, such as potato salad, containing perishable ingredients in a cooler containing ice or ice packs. Keep your cooler in the coolest part of your vehicle, not in the trunk, and in the shade, and try not to open it frequently.);

Avoid allowing raw meat or poultry to come in contact with other food (Summertime Tip: wrap raw meat and poultry carefully before placing in cooler, and thoroughly wash all cooking utensils that come in contact with raw food.).
Search the Internet for more tips on healthful summer eating, especially in outdoor settings.
If you or a family member has suffered from food poisoning, and you have a question about your legal rights, you can request a free case evaluation from our firm by clicking on free case evaluation. You may also contact us toll free at 1-877-934-6274.
The information contained on this page has been gathered from the websites of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration and other sources in the public domain.
In the news

April 11, 2013: 24 Individuals Sickened With E.coli From Frozen Food Products
Over the past two weeks, Rich Products from Buffalo, NY has issued two recalls.  The First was precautionary, but the second came after there were 24 individuals sickened from 15 states. 

March 21, 2013: High Protein Chocolate Bars May Be Contaminated with Salmonella
On March 18th, Pro-Amino International Inc., of Saint-Eustache, Quebec, Canada issued a recall of their ProtiDiet High Protein Chocolate Dream Bars due to a threat of salmonella contamination.

February 7, 2013: GoldCoast Recalls Blue Crab Spread Due To Listeria Contamination
On February 6th GoldCoast Salads, based in Naples, Florida placed a recall of their Blue Crab Spread because of testing positive for the bacterium, Listeria monocytogenes. 

January 31, 2013: Back To Back Recalls From Whole Foods Infected Salmon
On January 29th, Whole Foods Market placed their second recall in less than a week on Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon due to a contamination from Listeria monocytogenes.   

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