NDSU Extension - Benson County


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All about Foodborne Illness

By Kimberly Fox, Extension Agent Family Nutrition Program/Family and Consumer Science

If you are someone who enjoys cooking for yourself, your family, or groups, knowing about foodborne illness and how to prevent it should be at the top of your list. 

Foodborne illness often presents itself with symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or fever.  Because of this, many people do not recognize that the illness is caused by bacteria or other pathogens in food and oftentimes mistake it for the flu.

Thousands of types of bacteria are naturally present in our environment, but not all bacteria cause disease to occur in the human body. For example, some bacteria are used beneficially in making cheese and yogurt.  We need to be aware of what bacteria can be harmful, and how to avoid it. 

Everyone can get a foodborne illness, however some are a higher risk than others.  Because of this, many factors should be taken into consideration when thinking about your risk for foodborne illness.  Age and physical condition place some persons at higher risk than others, no matter what type of bacteria is implicated. Very young children, pregnant women, the elderly, and people with compromised immune systems are at greatest risk from any pathogen. Some persons may become ill after ingesting only a few harmful bacteria; others may remain symptom free after ingesting thousands. 

With this being said, it best to be safe.  Here are some of the top reasons foodborne illness occurs:

• Food not hot enough
• Infected food handlers
• Preparation a day or more ahead of time
• Raw food mixed with cooked
• Food left in the danger zone (41 F to 140 F)
• Leftover food not reheated high enough
• Cross contamination


Regardless of who you are cooking for, remember that food safety should be your first priority.  No need to take the risk of getting sick, or worse.


Practice your food safety skills when you make the delicious baked fish and vegetable recipe below.  Enjoy!


Baked Fish and Vegetables


  • 4 white fish fillets (frozen, or cod or perch total of 16-20 oz.)
  • 2 cups mixed vegetables (frozen)
  • 1 onion (small, diced)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice (or fresh lemon, sliced thin)
  • 1 tablespoon parsley flakes (dried or fresh chopped)
  • aluminum foil

Directions: First, preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Separate and place fish fillets in center of each tin foil square.  Combine frozen vegetables and diced onion in bowl and mix. Spoon vegetables around fillets.  Then, sprinkle with lemon juice (or top with lemon slice) and add parsley on top. Fold ends of tin foil together to form leak-proof seal.  Bake for 10 minutes. Serve.

Makes: 4 servings.  Each serving contains 360 calories, 12 grams of fat, 130 mg of sodium, 19 carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, and 41 grams of protein. 



  • NDSU Extension Service, Cooking for Groups: A volunteer’s guide to Food Safety, August 2016
  • University of Minnesota, Cooperative Extension Service, Simply Good Eating: Recipe Cards, Vol. 1, 2000.
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