An estimated eighty million Americans suffer from food poisoning annually. Some of the reported cases are violent and result in death. The cause of food poisoning is the high level of bacteria and parasites found in food arising from improper handling or cooking.
Cleanliness is vitally essential and washing of hands, utensils and ensuring that meat is properly cooked are the first steps to avoid food borne diseases.
It has been estimated that there are over two hundred different types of bacteria, viruses, parasites, and toxins that can cause food borne diseases. A common illness caused from the reaction of these toxins can range from stomach irritation and lead to death in severe untreated cases.
E.coli 0157.H7 is classified as a potent virus but can be destroyed if the meat is fully cooked. This virus has caused countless deaths worldwide. E.coli is the name of bacteria that are a direct action from undercooked meat, and other products can create this dangerous toxin. Some of the more severe symptoms caused from this bacteria is diarrhea which can lead to kidney failure and even death.
An easy way to avoid the effects of food borne diseases is to ensure that you follow simple instructions and protect yourself and your family from these painful and sometimes fatal illnesses. The manner you take toward purchasing, storing, and preparing food should be carefully considered, and the foremost responsibility for keeping food safe once purchased.
Food handlers and shops are ultimately responsible for the safety and hygiene conditions surrounding food. Strict law enforcement provide protection and stores are aware of the implications and heavy fines should they not adhere to the standards set down by the health departments. It becomes the responsibility of the customer after purchases food items to ensure that steps are taken to ensure the foods remains bacteria free.
Simple instructions such as not leaving food purchased in a hot car check the use-by dates on food items. Select food in perfect condition, cold food should be cold to the touch. Frozen food should be rock solid. Examine canned foods and ensure that there are no dents, cracks, or swollen lids. This can be an indication of a serious food poisoning threat. Ensure meat products are cooked properly as under-cooked meat can cause the bacteria to poison your family.
The temperature of your refrigeration is essential. Check this with an appliance thermometer. The best way to keep bacteria in check is to ensure your refrigerator runs at 40 degrees F, or cold enough not to freeze the milk and lettuce. Store food items in their own sections and generally keep meat, poultry, and fish away from other foods.
When preparing food, keep everything clean and thaw out frozen food in the refrigerator as bacteria can grow on the other layers of the food before it is properly thawed. Keep the kitchen clean and ensure that all utensils are washed thoroughly. The general rule wash your hands as often as possible and especially when dealing with food applies.
Written by Laura Oneale