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Microbiological aspects of food safety
Risk? The Department of Food Safety, Zoonoses and Food born Diseases (FOS) strives to reduce the serious negative impact of food born diseases worldwide. Food and waterborne diarrheal diseases are leading causes of illness and death in less developed countries, killing approximately 2.2 million people annually, 1.9 million of whom are children.
Multiply Bacteria that cause food poisoning can multiply rapidly at temperatures between 5°C and 63°C. In the right conditions, one bacterium can multiply to more than four million bacteria in eight hours.
How you get poisoning from eating food that has not been cooked properly so that the bacteria have not been destroyed, and by eating food that has been contaminated, because someone did not wash the food, their hands or utensils properly before handling the food (although meat should not be washed).
Recognition You may not realize you have eaten contaminated food as the taste, appearance and smell of the food is usually unaffected. Bacteria in contaminated food can spread to others foods via unwashed hands or shared utensils. This is called cross-contamination.
Insects, Birds, Rodents Insects, birds and rodents carry bacteria that could cause illness, so make sure they do not get into the kitchen and throw away any food they come into contact with.
Tips If you are getting flies and wasps in the kitchen, hang up a sticky insecticidal strip. Do not use aerosol sprays in the kitchen. If you have an infestation of cockroaches, ants or other insects, it is important to deal with the problem as quickly as possible. You can get advice from your local environmental health department or a commercial pest control agency.
Types of Food Poisoning Shigella Campylobacte (Most Common) Botulism E. Coli Salmonella
What happens? After you eat a contaminated food, there is an hours-to-days delay before you notice symptoms. The contaminating organism passes through the stomach into the intestine, attaches to the intestinal walls, and begins to multiply. Some organisms stay in the intestine, some produce a toxin that is absorbed into the bloodstream, and others directly invade body tissues. Your symptoms depend greatly on the type of organism that has infected you. In most cases, you recover in a few days to a week as toxins are flushed from your system. You may feel weak for several days after other symptoms go away. Most of the time food poisoning is mild and passes in a few days. However, the symptoms and course of some types of food poisoning may be more severe.
Tips To Avoid This Make sure that food from animal sources (meat, dairy, eggs) is cooked thoroughly or pasteurized. Avoid eating raw or undercooked meats and eggs. Check expiration dates on meats before purchasing and again before preparing. Carefully select and prepare fish and shellfish to ensure quality and freshness. If you are served an undercooked meat or egg product in a restaurant, send it back for further cooking. You should also ask for a new plate. Be careful to keep juices or drippings from raw meat, poultry, shellfish, or eggs from contaminating other foods
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