Diarrhea, vomiting, and a fever – they are all symptoms commonly associated with the flu. But did you know that these same symptoms can be caused by something you ate? That’s right – these same symptoms are also associated with foodborne illness. A foodborne illness is an acute gastrointestinal infection transmitted to people by food or beverages containing bacteria and other harmful organisms. Foodborne illness is usually the result of improper food handling during the process of cleaning, storage, cooking, or reheating of food. In fact, as much as 40% of all communicable diseases result from poor food handling. Preventing the spread of bacteria in the handling of food is especially important when dealing with groups that are at greater risk, such as pregnant women, young children, older adults, and people with immune systems that are weakened by disease or medical treatment. Individuals in these groups may have a reduced ability to fight off infection making them susceptible to a foodborne illness. E. coli, for example, is a very harmful bacteria that can cause a severe and potentially fatal illness primarily in the elderly and the sick. Depending on your job responsibilities, it is important to know why safe food handling is important and how to properly handle food to prevent the spread of bacteria and foodborne illness. This course has been designed with those objectives in mind.