Ritz and Goldfish crackers recently joined the list of food recalls for possible salmonella contamination, but poison control experts warn that many instances of food poisoning also come from improper handling of food in the kitchen.

 “Forgetting about food safety when preparing any meal is a recipe for disaster,” says Bruce Ruck, managing director of the NJ Poison Control Center at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School’s Department of Emergency Medicine

Food contamination is a concern not just for meat and seafood products but also fresh fruits and vegetables. Foods can become contaminated at any point during the harvest to table process, so remember to wash fruits and vegetables well and keep them from touching any services or utensils that were exposed to raw meat. Always remember to wash your hands with soap and warm water before and after preparing foods.

The effects of food poisoning can happen between a few hours to a few days after ingestion. Symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, diarrhea and fever.

“It’s important to remember that you should not prepare food if you are feeling sick or have any type of respiratory illness or infection,” Ruck said. “This puts your family and guests at risk of becoming ill.”

Ruck is available for interviews. Contact him at [email protected] or contact Alicia Gambino, NJ Poison Control, at 973 972 9280.


If at any time during the preparing/cooking process you have a question about food safety or think a food poisoning situation may have occurred, don’t hesitate to get help from the medical experts at the NJ Poison Control Center, 1-800-222-1222. Poison control centers are a great resource for emergencies, information and prevention education. Help is free, confidential and available 24/7.