Gillian Green, a registered dietitian with the Dominion grocery store on Blackmarsh Road in St. John’s, says food poisoning – or food-borne illnesses as it is often called – is more common than people might think.

"People may not realize they have food poisoning because the symptoms are very similar to that of the flu," she said.

Health Canada estimates there are between 11 million and 13 million cases of food-related illnesses in this country every year, with the annual cost related to these illnesses and related deaths running between $12 billion-$14 billion.

In order to prevent food poisoning, Green advises that leftover foods be stored within two hours of cooking and should never be kept longer than two or three days. Hot items should be cooled at room temperature for about 30 minutes prior to being refrigerated, she said.

In addition, frozen foods should never be defrosted on the countertop, but rather in the refrigerator, under cold running water or in the microwave. If food is defrosted in the microwave, it should be cooked immediately after.