september is national food safety awareness month 62bc49856cdfc

September is National Food Safety Awareness Month

Hi I’m Dr. Jeffrey mark. September is National Food Safety Awareness Month. And today I’d like to talk to you about who’s at risk for food poisoning with severe symptoms of food poisoning, food safety tips, and testing and treatment. 

So, anyone can get food poisoning. But there are certain people that are more likely to get sick from food poisoning. And these include people over age 65, younger children under age five , people with weakened immune systems and pregnant women. 

There are five signs of severe food poisoning. So if you have these symptoms, you should definitely contact your primary care physician, or give us a call if you have the following:  bloody diarrhea, fever higher than one hundred two degrees Fahrenheit, frequent vomiting, dehydration, and diarrhea for longer than three days. These are all severe findings that we need to do further evaluation. 

Here are four steps that you can take for preventative measures: clean, separate, cook, and chill. So these are from the CDC guidelines. You want to wash your hands, and all the surfaces involved in cooking; thoroughly wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. Some people will sing the alphabet which takes about 20 seconds, and make it just to make sure there are lots of suds and so on, and to wash thoroughly. You want to make sure you’re rinsing your fruits and vegetables. while you’re running water. You don’t want to contaminate your fruits either so you want to separate them between raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs, because they can have salmonella and other types of bacteria present. So you just have to be careful when you’re using cutting boards to keep those separate as well. And to make sure that you separate meats and vegetables when you’re packing at the grocery store as well. Next you want to make sure you cook adequately. 

So you want to make sure that for certain meats and poultry, they reach a certain temperature, and you have to use a thermometer generally because you can’t tell by just looking at texture and color. So these are the temperature guidelines:  145°F for whole cuts of beef, pork, veal, and lamb (then allow the meat to rest for 3 minutes before carving or eating), 160°F for ground meats, such as beef and pork, 165°F for all poultry, including ground chicken and turkey, 165°F for leftovers and casseroles, 145°F for fresh ham (raw), 145°F for fin fish or cook until flesh is opaque. You want to make sure that the food is chilled promptly after eating. So you want to make sure that when the food is perishable it needs to refrigerate within two hours. And if the temperature outside is 90 degrees Fahrenheit, you want to make sure you get it in the fridge, within an hour. And then if you defrost you want to try the defrost, refrigerator, right on the countertop because there is uneven heat distribution of the food as the surface of the food tends to thaw quicker and reach a higher temperature than the core. Here’s some food safety guidelines based on the four principles that we’ve discussed above. So again, to keep things clean. Make sure you cook at the right temperature. And you want to make sure that you pay attention to food that’s been sitting in the room for one, two hours, and if it’s over 90 degrees not more than one hour. Then you want to make sure that you serve at the right temperature as well.  And the guidelines here can be further explored on the CDC website as well. 

So, there are other safety tips as well for certain types of food. Make sure poultry gets a good internal temperature for the meat and poultry receive for your cooking. Seafood should be cooked to 145 degrees as well. And then for dairy, always try to pick pasteurized milk. This is because of the significant reduction in bacteria. For eggs, try to use pasteurized eggs as well. Sprouts you may want to make sure you wash thoroughly and consider cooking the sprouts, and other vegetables you want to wash them thoroughly especially if you’re making salads as well, Moving on to cheese, soft cheeses, usually made from pasteurized milk is fine. Other processed cheeses and hard cheeses are also fine as well. In general, you want to try to avoid unpasteurized cheeses. And then when you’re grilling you want to make sure you separate between the meat, poultry and seafood. After you’ve shopped at the grocery store, you want to make sure that you’re keeping the meat chilled below 40 degrees in storage. And you want to clean again and cook to the right temperature as we talked about already. You don’t want to cross contaminate the foods either, and you want to make sure you refrigerate any leftovers as well. 

So if you happen to have food poisoning and you get the severe symptoms you should call your primary care physician, or give us a call. And you may need further testing such as a store culture and make sure you don’t have something like salmonella, which can be more significant, especially for those immunocompromised groups, or the first set of groups that I told you about. You may or may not need antibiotics. We put people on polyphenols, prebiotics,  and probiotics ( Probio 350, Probio Plus, ProBio 100, ProBio 30 SB, PomBioX, and ProBio Phyto (Rainbow)).  Especially in children, there have been several studies that show certain types of probiotics can decrease the duration of foodborne illnesses and diarrheal illnesses by at least five to seven days; which is fairly significant, especially if there’s risk of dehydration. 

So September is National Food Safety Awareness Month, but you don’t have to practice food safety, just for the month of September. So hopefully you’ll prevent food poisoning by following the safety tips I’ve mentioned above. 

So for more information on restoring the microbiome, All Functional Health (AFH) programs, probiotics or nutrients, and regenerative anti-aging medicine, you can contact us at, visit our website at, or call us at (925)736-9828.  We’ve helped thousands of people on their journey of health and we look forward to helping you as well.  Take care and stay healthy.


Jeffrey Mark, M.D.


Our office location in San Ramon is a short drive to the Silicon Valley including Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Atherton, Portola Valley, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, San Jose, Cupertino, Mountain View, Burlingame, Hillsborough, San Mateo, San Francisco, Piedmont, Berkeley, Walnut Creek, Danville, Pleasanton, and surrounding areas. Telemedicine/Telehealth services are now available in the comfort of your home so no need to drive across the bay anymore to access your Quadruple Board Certified physician.   We are able to service all 50 states and send test kits and nutraceuticals directly to your home. Call us to find out more about our many services.  925-736-9828


Jeffrey Mark, M.D.

Helping clients with compassionate and comprehensive medical care for over 25 years with 4 board certifications in functional medicine, gastroenterology, internal medicine, and anti-aging/ regenerative medicine . IFMCP, ABIM Gastroenterology, NPAS Internal Medicine, ABAARM.

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