Food safety experts estimate that 1 in 6 adult Americans contract food poisoning each year. In 2011, there were close to 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths related to food-borne diseases. To protect your family, every consumer should know the major food sources for illness, the common types of poisoning, and how to reduce food contamination.
Salmonella, the name of a group of bacteria, is one of the most common causes of food poisoning in the United States. When foods containing Salmonella are eaten, the bacteria pass the stomach, settle into the intestine and may penetrate the intestinal wall. Diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramps, and vomiting are common symptoms, but the bacteria can cause more severe sickness and even death in both people and animals.
Dairy, poultry, and meat products have been linked to Salmonella. To protect your family, avoid serving or eating high-risk foods, including raw or lightly cooked eggs, undercooked ground beef or poultry, and unpasteurized milk.
Many people think about food safety issues in the context of spoiled meats, dairy items, or even produce. E. coli, a large and diverse group of bacteria, is typically harmless, but some strains can affect our bodies. For example, there have been recent warnings about E. coli being found in a popular fast-food restaurant’s sprouts and many years ago there was bad outbreak involving spinach. In these unfortunate instances, once ingested, E. coli travels from its usual home in the intestines into the blood, causing an infection with symptoms including bad stomach cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea.
E. coli contamination is a great risk to small children, the elderly, and other immune-deficient persons. Fluid loss is a concern for these groups. Immediate medical attention is critical for anyone who suffers a food-borne illness with symptoms of vomiting or diarrhea. Untreated, dehydration is a serious and devastating medical consequence of food poisoning.
Reduce the Risk of Food Poisoning
In your home, there are simple steps you can take to protect your family from food poisoning. Always wash your hands, dishes, utensils, and counter surfaces thoroughly while preparing foods. Fresh fruit and vegetables should be carefully washed before eating. Meat and eggs should be thoroughly cooked.
Eating away from your home is always a risk. You rely on others to prepare your food and, unfortunately, restaurants and fast-food joints are a common source of food poisoning. We have seen many cases where improper food handling and lackadaisical cleaning procedures leading to serious food-borne illnesses. If you or someone you know has suffered food contamination or food poisoning, please let us know if we can help. Contact us online or call us at 407-244-1212.