Alimentos en mal estado

Food in bad condition

How to recognize and avoid them

Food safety is an issue of great importance for public health. Every year, millions of people get sick from eating spoiled food. These foods can contain bacteria, viruses, parasites and toxins that can cause serious illness and even death.

How do you know if a food is spoiled?

There are some signs that may indicate that a food is not safe to consume:

  • Appearance: Spoiled food may have an abnormal appearance, such as changes in color, texture, or shape. For example, meat may be discolored or have an unpleasant odor, fruits and vegetables may be soft or wet, and dairy products may be swollen or have a sour smell.
  • Smell: Spoiled food may have an unpleasant, sour or rancid odor.
  • Taste: Spoiled foods may have a bitter, sour or metallic taste.
  • Texture: Spoiled foods may have an abnormal texture, such as being soft, slimy, or sticky.

How to prevent foodborne illnesses?

There are some measures we can take to prevent foodborne illnesses:

  • Wash your hands: Wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds before handling food, after using the bathroom, and after touching animals or their waste.
  • Cook foods thoroughly: Cooking foods to a safe internal temperature will kill harmful bacteria. Meat should be cooked to 71°C, poultry to 74°C and eggs to 71°C.
  • Refrigerate or freeze perishable foods: Perishable foods, such as meat, poultry, eggs, dairy products, and fresh fruits and vegetables, should be refrigerated or frozen within two hours of purchase or preparation.
  • Avoid cross-contamination: Avoiding cross-contamination means preventing raw juices from meat, poultry, or seafood from contaminating other foods. Use different cutting boards and utensils for raw and cooked foods, and wash surfaces thoroughly after use.
  • Throw away spoiled food: If you are not sure if a food is safe to eat, it is best to throw it away.

Risk groups

People at increased risk for foodborne illness include:

  • Young Children: Young children have weak immune systems and are more susceptible to illness.
  • Older adults: Older adults also have weak immune systems and are more susceptible to illness.
  • Pregnant women: Pregnant women are more susceptible to illnesses and some infections can harm the baby.
  • People with chronic illnesses: People with chronic illnesses, such as diabetes or kidney disease, have weakened immune systems and are more susceptible to illness.


Food safety is an issue of great importance for public health. By taking steps to prevent foodborne illness, we can protect ourselves and our families from serious illnesses.

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