Avoid­ing food­borne poi­son­ing

The Calvert Recorder - - Medical Guide -

Nu­mer­ous food­borne ill­ness out­breaks of sal­mo­nella and E. coli have oc­curred across the United States and Canada in 2018. And such out­breaks are not lim­ited to North Amer­ica. In May, more than 40 cases of hepati­tis A were re­ported in six Euro­pean Union coun­tries, ac­cord­ing to the Euro­pean Cen­ter for Dis­ease Pre­ven­tion and Con­trol.

When two or more peo­ple get the same ill­ness from the same food or drink source, the event is called a food­borne dis­ease out­break, ac­cord­ing to the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion. While in­fec­tion from sal­mo­nella strains and escherichia coli are some of the most no­table con­ta­gions, other ill- nesses can oc­cur as well, as ev­i­denced by the EU hepati­tis out­break. Lis­te­ria and cy­clospora are some other known food­borne ill­ness pathogens. Through the first half of 2018, warn­ings and re­calls have been is­sued by the CDC for shell eggs, ro­maine let­tuce, dried co­conut, chicken salad, kratom, raw sprouts, and frozen shred­ded co­conut due to ill­ness out­breaks.

The ram­i­fi­ca­tions of food ill­nesses are sig­nif­i­cant. The Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion and the CDC re­ported that 121 peo­ple in 25 states be­came ill in April 2018 from eat­ing ro­maine let­tuce grown in the re­gion of Yuma, Ari­zona. Forty-six of those in­di­vid­u­als were hos­pi­tal­ized, in­clud­ing 10 who de­vel­oped a type of kid­ney fail­ure. One per­son in Cal­i­for­nia died from the sick­ness.

In­creased re­port­ing about food­borne ill­ness out­breaks begs the ques­tion as to whether or not more can be done to re­duce the spread of these harm­ful pathogens. Con­tam­i­na­tion can oc­cur in var­i­ous places as food makes its way to din­ner ta­bles. Long-term pre­ven­tion of food­borne ill­ness out­breaks in­volves the co­op­er­a­tion of many peo­ple in the pro­duc­tion chain — all the way to the con­sumer, ac­cord­ing to the CDC.

• Pro­duc­tion and har­vest­ing needs to be safe and clean, with ef­forts to keep food prod­ucts free of an­i­mal waste and sewage con­tam­i­na­tion.

• In­spec­tion of process- ing plants can help en­sure san­i­tary prac­tices are in place.

• Pas­teur­iza­tion, ir­ra­di­a­tion, can­ning, and other steps can kill pathogens dur­ing food pro­cess­ing.

• Peo­ple who pack­age or pre­pare foods must prop­erly wash their hands and clean fa­cil­i­ties where food is han­dled.

• Food ser­vice work- ers should not go to work when they are ill.

• Foods need to be kept at proper tem­per­a­tures dur­ing trans­port and when on dis­play at stores.

• Con­sumers should be aware of ex­pi­ra­tion dates and em­ploy proper food han­dling and cook­ing mea­sures. These in­clude thor­oughly wash­ing pro­duce, and cook­ing poul- try, meats and other foods to the rec­om­mended tem­per­a­tures.

Peo­ple who ex­pe­ri­ence food poi­son­ing should re­port each in­stance to the lo­cal or state health depart­ment. Iden­ti­fy­ing symp­toms and lo­ca­tion can help health of­fi­cials track ill­nesses and look for sim­i­lar ex­po­sures.

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