Report roundup: Avoiding food poisoning in kids

Food poisoning happens when germs contaminate food or drinks, often through contamination from a person or from having food at temperatures that support the growth of bacteria. This month’s Mott Poll report asked parents about their experiences and concerns with food safety. Parents and media across the country have shared their thoughts and advice for preventing food poisoning. Here’s a roundup of the conversation.


Among parents who reported their child had ever had food poisoning, 68% said it came from restaurants. This was the focus of a HealthDay piece, Many parents say restaurant fare has made kids sick: Poll. Reporter Alan Mozes points out that despite restaurants being the most common source of food poisoning, only 1 out of 4 parents reported checking health inspection ratings before dining out with their kids. Health ratings include inspections of proper food storage temperature, as well as overall kitchen cleanliness. Checking ratings can help parents avoid restaurants whose health ratings aren’t up to par.


Parents in the Mott Poll report putting much more effort into food safety in their own home. This was highlighted in a Romper article, Poll finds the most common source of food poisoning in kids & here’s how parents can help prevent it. Writer Vanessa Taylor offers some preventive steps for parents to take, such as making sure meat is cooked thoroughly. Eating raw or undercooked meat is a common source of food poisoning for people of all ages. Using a meat thermometer to check the temperature is an important way to ensure meat is properly cooked before serving.

Tips for Parents

What else can parents do to make sure food is safe for their children? U-M Mott pediatrician Dr. Alison Tribble offers advice for parents in a Michigan Health Blog Post, How to prevent your kids from getting food poisoning. Dr. Tribble advises parents to keep raw foods cold, such as meat and dairy products. “When meat sits out for a long time, bacteria can be replicating, even if the middle is still frozen,” Dr. Tribble says. She also suggests using separate cutting boards for different kinds of food to avoid cross-contamination. Finally, Dr. Tribble says the simplest way to prevent food poisoning is through hand-washing.