How to prevent food-borne illnesses
- These diseases borne from food encompass a wide range of illnesses from diarrhoea to cancer.
According to a survey done by the Centre of Disease Control & Prevention, it is estimated that each year 48 million people get sick from a foodborne illness, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die.
Foodborne illnesses are caused by contamination of food that has occurred at any stage of the food production, delivery and consumption chain. They can happen from various forms of environmental contamination including pollution in water, soil or air. Foodborne illnesses can also occur from unsafe food storage and processing.
These diseases borne from food encompass a wide range of illnesses from diarrhoea to cancers. Most of them cause gastrointestinal issues, though they can also produce neurological, gynaecological and immunological symptoms. Diseases that cause diarrhoea are a major problem in all countries of the world and mostly affect children under 5 years of age. Although the foodborne diseases are quite common, it's also important to know the causes of food borne illnesses. The causes fall into the following 3 categories:
- Biological hazards are the most common cause responsible for food borne illnesses. These include microbes such as bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Bacteria and viruses are responsible for most of the foodborne illnesses. Biological hazards are the biggest threat and problem to food safety. They can be inherent in the product or can be transferred due to mishandling (e.g., time/temperature abuse).
- Chemical hazards generally include natural toxins and chemical contaminants. Most of the time there are some natural toxins associated with the food itself that lead to its contamination (i.e., certain mushrooms, PSP in molluscan shellfish) and in some cases the food gets contaminated by pathogens when it is time or temperature abused (i.e., histamine development in certain seafood species). Apart from this, some additives, such as sulphites, can be a hazard for some people.
- Physical hazards can include metal shavings from cans and plastic pieces or broken glass present in food that lead to its contamination.
The symptoms of foodborne illnesses range from mild to severe and depend upon the microbe that has been ingested. However, common symptoms are as follows:
- Upset Stomach
- Abdominal pain
It might take hours or days to develop symptoms after you consume contaminated food.
Foodborne illnesses are quite common and it is important to know the causes and ways to prevent these diseases to keep oneself away from the agony that is caused by these diseases. So, lets know tips for in order to prevent these illnesses:
- Practice hygiene - Practicing hygiene the first step towards prevention of food borne diseases. One should wash hands before handling food and often during food preparation and after going to the washroom. Washing and sanitizing all surfaces and equipment used for food preparation is imperative. Care should be taken to protect kitchen areas and food from insects, pests and other animals. It is equally important to clean fruits and vegetables well. Using a natural and safer solution like Marico’s Veggie Clean is the best way to do so. This unique, naturally-derived solution will help you get rid of all those pesky germs, bacteria, chemicals and waxes, which tend to go unnoticed on all your fruits and vegetables , rendering them squeaky clean in no time! Simple to use, one is only required to soak and hand rub the fresh produce in a solution made of half capful of Veggie Clean and 1 litre of water followed by rinsing the soaked produce in running water 2-3 times for about 30 seconds.
- Separate raw and cooked food – It is important to separate raw meat, poultry and seafood from other foods. This can be done by using separate equipment and utensils such as knives and cutting boards for handling raw foods.
- Storage- Majority times, food contamination occurs at the time of food storage. Care should be taken to store containers separately in different containers to avoid contact between raw and prepared foods.
- Cooking – Cooking plays a vital role in preventing food borne illnesses. One should cook food thoroughly, especially animal products like meat, poultry, eggs and seafood.
- Temperature – Keep food at the correct temperature. Make sure to not leave cooked food at room temperature for more than 2 hours. All cooked and perishable foods should be refrigerated promptly (preferably below 5°C).
- Water- Water plays a very important role to prevent food borne diseases. Make sure to use safe water while washing raw materials and vegetables. Cook food using clean and safe water.
Over to you
Food borne illnesses are quite prevalent in today’s time. What is important is to maintain hygiene and being aware during the process of food procuring, handling and its storage.
Disclaimer: This is a company press release. No HT journalist was involved in the creation of this content.
The author Nmami Agarwal is the Founder and CEO of Nmami Life