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How do you safely handle a food recall?

Food poisoning isn't nearly as much of a concern as it once was before refrigeration became common -- but it's still a problem. It kills around 3,000 people every year and puts another 100,000 in the hospital.

The recent outbreak of food poisoning due to E. coli bacteria on salad greens has hit the U.S. pretty hard -- and many people have had leafy greens in their fridge recently that were subject to mass recalls.

It's important to understand that you can't just pull the recalled food out of the fridge and return it or throw it away. That could still leave deadly bacteria lurking inside your fridge -- and potentially sicken your entire family.

To stay safe, you need to take the following steps:

1. Remove any recalled food from your fridge plus any food near the recalled items. Put it all in a bag and toss it out immediately.

2. Discard any plastic or paper bags that you used to carry food home from the store. If you used cloth bags that are reusable, pull them all out and wash them in hot water and detergent.

3. Empty your fridge. Remove all the shelves and drawers, if possible.

4. Using warm water and dish soap, wash the shelving, drawers and anything else removable. Then wash down the fridge as well.

5. Mix a gallon of water that's as hot as you can safely handle with a single tablespoon of bleach. Using a cloth or sponge, wipe down the shelves, drawers and fridge again.

6. Using the same solution, wipe down the outside of all your remaining food containers before you put them back into the fridge for consumption.

It's important to remember that symptoms of true food poisoning can occur anywhere from a day or two after you eat something contaminated to more than a week later. If you think you may have food poisoning, trust your instincts and seek medical attention promptly. It's also important for the families of the victims of fatal food poisonings to remember that they can sometimes hold restaurants or stores responsible.

Source: ctpost, "CDC reveals most dangerous causes of food poisoning," accessed May 11, 2018

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