In spite of all the food protection measures in place, the threat of food poisoning is on the rise, especially in produce and meat products. Since the majority of people in the United States eat either vegetables or meat on a regular basis, it is most likely to hit anyone who is an American, and that means food poisoning is very likely going to hit you sometime in your life.
Almost 50 million people come down with some kind of foodborne illness every year as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Salmonella is at the very top of what caused food poisoning last year, the CDC’s 2012 food illness report states. Yet all the occurrences of Salmonella are basically unchanged from the 2006-2008 data, the agency reports. This report is centered on food illness news from 10 U.S. regions that represent about 1/4th of the entire country.
Coming in second for making people sick is Campylobacter, which went up 14% from the 2006-2008 information, says the CDC. This bacterium exists on chickens and can taint meat during the slaughtering process. It is also sometimes found in unpasteurized, raw milk.
Ground beef and chicken are very first on the list of meats which are risky to consume state the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Various researchers that work for this group looked at information from foodborne illness outbreaks from years lasting just over a decade and noticed that from the late 1990’s to 2010, meat and poultry products were linked to at least 1,700 outbreaks which caused over 33,300 illnesses.
That approximation is just that, an estimate because people might not get any medical attention for food poisoning and these go unrecognized. The U.S.D.A. has set up an online reporting site for anyone who believes they might have food poisoning.
The Environmental Working Group put out an analysis of data on bacteria that was resistant to antibiotics which was in meat sold in supermarkets.
It explained that 39% of chicken meat, 55% of ground beef, nearly 70% of pork chops and 80% of ground chicken were found to have the bacteria. They got this information from a Food and Drug Administration report released in February of this year.
Every 12 months this Group also publishes a consumer guide to shopping to help people know which produce have the largest threats of pesticides.
While pesticides are not a cause of food poisoning, produce can be. In 2012, fruits and vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, cantaloupes, salad mixes, and mangoes were connected to various outbreaks.
Consumers need to know that they always should keep poultry, seafood and any raw meat away from other food products to avoid cross-contamination.
The USDA says to place these foods in their own plastic bags in the shopping cart and make sure they also have these purchases in different bags at when checking out at the store.
Putting any meat in containers which do not leak also helps stop contamination. It is always a good idea to put raw meat in plastic bags or container to stop any liquids from getting on other foods.
When dealing with produce, make sure to clean vegetables and fruit under running water. Scrubbing cucumbers and any type of melons with a clean brush is endorsed but do not use soap on them.
Some cooks wash their meat before cooking it but this can spread tainted juices into areas that may not be noticeable, and also make sure to use soapy, hot water to sanitize utensils and cutting boards after using them.
To properly cook meat is of the utmost essence for poultry, seafood, and meat. Cooking temperatures must reach a certain degree to kill bacteria such as Salmonella and E. Coli, The only way to be able to check meat temperatures is a meat thermometer.
The thermometer should be put in the thickest part of the meat that does not hit the bone. Poultry, lamb and ground beef needs to reach 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Poultry pieces, turkeys, and entire chickens to 165 degrees. Any type of meat similar to a steak, a roast or to a chop needs to reach at least 145 degrees, and then should be allowed to have some time out of the over “resting” before it is cut into. This should be around three minutes.
Dangerous bacteria can begin to grow at room temperature, so if there are any leftovers, they should be put in the refrigerator or freezer within two hours of it being cooked. If these measures are followed, maybe it will be less probable that food poisoning will likely hit you. There are ways to fight it, however being careful and using common sense is not always enough.
Written by: Kimberly Ruble