Avoiding stomach bugs like Cyclospora - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Avoiding stomach bugs like Cyclospora

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

More cases of the stomach bug Cyclospora have been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A total of 285 cases now, mostly in Iowa, Nebraska and Texas.

State health officials tell me there have been no cases of Cyclospora in Mississippi and there are no investigations of possible cases.

The CDC reports the outbreak might be linked to produce, so people should follow proper steps for food hygiene. Buying, washing and storing produce properly can spare a family of food born illness, like Cyclospora.

"Buy local, as in the USA, or as local as you can possibly get. It takes away an additional step from crossing the borders with contamination," said registered dietitian Rebecca Turner.

She says food safety starts with your purchase. "Check for spoilage. You don't want any produce with bruising and you don't want lettuce or leaves that are wilted or slightly wet. Those things you want to avoid and put back on the shelf."

Step number two is to wash your produce, all of it. "Melons, watermelons, even bananas, things you're going to peel off still need to be washed and rinsed because it's what' on the outside when you slice it could potentially get on the inside and still make you sick," Turner said. Then you should buff them with a brush and dry them, thoroughly.

Storing produce properly is an equally important step. "A good tip is if you fold or put paper towels at the bottom of the container. You can rotate those out because they will absorb the moisture from washing and helps you last your fruits and vegetables longer."

Turner says to make this a simple process, you can place the paper towel on top of the produce, store it lid-side down in the refrigerator, and conveniently change the paper towel daily.

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