How To Avoid Food Poisoning in Israel


Food poisoning is an illness caused by eating or drinking food or water contaminated with viruses, bacteria, toxins, parasites, or chemicals. Typical symptoms of food poisoning are vomiting and diarrhea.

In Israel, during the long hot summer, the possibility of food being contaminated is greater due to food exposure to extreme temperatures, or food that does not have sufficient refrigeration.  Many food vendors display their products on the street, and it’s important to be cautious!!

This year EMA Care has assisted scores of students hit by food poisoning after food served by the schools was contaminated. Food poisoning has been known to occur at weddings and other events. Care must be taken to observe all food, especially food put out at a buffet. The key to preventing food poisoning is making sure cold foods stay cold and hot foods are hot!!

Finer hotels and event venues are more likely to continuously replace items that could be problematic. No one expects gap year programs to be dining at finer establishments and these groups will most often be staying at youth hostels and inexpensive hotels. Therefore the student must be smart when choosing what to eat.

Eating with a group of people is usually a sign of having a good time and people enjoying themselves! With EMA Care’s advice, we hope you continue to enjoy good food with good company.


Some of the most common food which can cause food poisoning are eggs (and egg products such as mayonnaise), poultry, meat, improperly handled vegetables and fruit, and cheese.

While not all food poisoning can be prevented, EMA Care has 3 cardinal rules to limit your risk of food poisoning:

The food must:

    • Look good
    • Smell good
    • Taste good

If there is any doubt in your mind - DO NOT EAT IT!!

Also – if a restaurant doesn’t LOOK clean… it probably isn’t.  Skip it.

Many polite tourists have reported that they chose room temperature sandwiches that were wrapped and sitting on the counter (and got food poisoning), or their restaurant food had a funny smell and they did not want to be rude and return it (and got food poisoning), or their vegetables tasted “off” but they ate it anyway (and got food poisoning).  Trust your instinct and be more assertive.

What happens if I get food poisoning?

Dr. Aaron got a call once from a congressional delegation who was flying in from Morocco.  ALL of the Congressmen/women on the trip (and some of their staffers) had gotten food poisoning eating in a tent in the desert, which had no running water or hygienic facilities.  Whoever thought of THAT idea should have been fired!  Dr. Aaron met the delegation at their hotel to assess and treat everyone.

The majority of people get mild to moderate food poisoning and will recover within 48 hours without treatment.  It will be a painful 48 hours - with stomach cramping, vomiting, and/or diarrhea. It’s important to stay hydrated so take small sips of caloric fluids (preferably with salt, sugar, and no caffeine) every 5 minutes.  Popsicles are a good way to get some liquid in you. Also, get plenty of rest. This is NOT the day to hike up Masada!

In some cases, food poisoning must be treated with medication, including antibiotics and intravenous (IV) fluids.  Some of the warning signs that you need help include:

    • Inability to keep any fluids down
    • Severe vomiting
    • Diarrhea more than 6 times a day
    • Bloody stools
    • Hives or rash
    • Symptoms that last more than 2 days

If you get these symptoms, please seek medical assistance. EMA Care can help provide guidelines on preventing food-borne illnesses and evaluating and treating food poisoning.

EMA Care wishes you a healthy, careful summer!

EMA Care provides medical concierge, case management, and patient advocacy services to tourists, students and residents of Israel. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.



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