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FAT TOM is a mnemonic device used in the food service industry to describe the six favorable conditions required for the growth of foodborne pathogens. Understanding the optimal conditions for bacterial growth can potentially help you reduce your risk for bacterial infections and food poisoning.
Found a problem with your food? If you suspect that a food product is contaminated or has made you or someone that you know sick, follow these guidelines to report it.
Dinner and a movie date night? Ditch the leftovers, not your date! Remember, leftovers are only safe for 2 hours at room temperature and won’t last through a movie - and only 1 hour if the temperature is over 90°F. After that time, bacteria growth can occur and cause food illness. Likewise, during warmer months bacteria multiply faster – so keeping food safe is more challenging.
Ready to start grilling hamburgers? Bacteria is of special concern with ground beef - because when beef is ground - more of the meat surface is exposed to potential harmful bacteria. For this reason, ground beef must be cooked to an internal temperature of 160°F, so as to kill all the bacteria and avoid foodborne illness.
Norovirus is a highly contagious virus and the most common viral foodborne illness. Norovirus infection is acquired by consuming produce (fruit and vegetables) irrigated with contaminated water contaminated with human or animal feces - or shellfish farmed or harvested in water contaminated with human sewage. Because only a few norovirus particles can make people sick, infection can also occur by consuming food handled by a person infected with the virus - or being in direct contact with an object, surface, or person that has been infected.