Some bacteria that cause food poisoning are carried on the skin. Harmless in small quantities, they can double in number every 20 minutes in improperly stored food. Illness is caused either by the bacteria or by the toxins they produce; neither necessarily indicates its presence by off-color food or by bad odor. Freezing does not kill bacteria; cooking does but doesn’t destroy all toxins or spores.
Wash your hands well before handling food. Cook food to 212° F, the temperature of boiling water, to kill surface bacteria. Thaw frozen meat completely so that the cooking heat will reach its center. Once food has thawed, don’t refreeze it. Serve a cooked food immediately; otherwise, refrigerate it. Avoid picnic foods that nourish bacteria such as custard, cream fillings, mayonnaise, and bologna. Use your nose: don’t eat a food with bad odor. When canning, follow instructions to the letter.