The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that there is about 1 in every 6 Americans who becomes ill and 128,000 are hospitalized due to foodborne diseases. Deaths are due to Salmonella, Listeria, norovirus, and Toxoplasma.
Just this July 2017, the CDC, US-FDA, along with other public health and regular authorities in some states are probing on the outbreak of Salmonella Kiambu infections experienced in multiple states. The infection is linked to Maradol papayas. More than 40 percent of those who reported were sick said that they recently ate papayas. Those who were reported sick ranges between 1 and 95 years old. Maradol papayas come from Mexico and are sold in Texas. These papayas have yellow, green, and red sticker.
Symptoms of salmonella poisoning consist of fever, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps which lasts from 4 to 7 days.
Food poisoning is a nightmare because it can cause lives. It may be difficult to tell whether the foods that we eat is safe or not. All we need to do is to know which foods have high potential risks. U.S.-FDA has often give us reports that generally, same foods tend to be associated with disease every year. These foods include eggs, seafoods, dairy products, but surprisingly not meat.
Be mindful of the risks but that does not mean we have to avoid eating these foods.
Most of us have this eggs on our breakfast table but sad to say, eggs are associated to more than 130 outbreaks since 1998, due to Salmonella. The bacteria is contained inside the egg, and therefore, eggs should be cooked properly to kill the germs. Avoid eating raw eggs. Store eggs in the fridge before cooking them.
Before oysters are prepared and placed on our table to enjoy, they come from the ocean bed filtering feeding. If the water they are seeping is infected, so are our oysters. They can be infected also during handling.
If oysters are served undercooked or raw, chances are they contain germs called norovirus and a bacteria known as Vibrio vulnificus that can give you symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting.
Tuna is potentially infected with scombrotoxin that causes cramps, headaches, and flushing. If tuna is stored above 60 degrees after being caught, it can emit the toxin which cannot be killed by cooking.
Freshness is the key with tuna and all seafoods. They need to be stored appropriately cold from the time they are caught from the water until the time it is placed on your plates.
Meats are regulated by the US-Department of Agriculture (not the FDA). According to Center for Science in the Public Interest or CSPI, meat has caused approximately 33,000 diseases between 1998 and 2010. While chicken was in the top of the list, ground beef is second in the list. In 2013, there were about 50,000 pounds of ground beef that were recalled because of possible contamination with that harmful E. coli.
The seeds buds in warm and moist settings where bacteria grows fast. Hence, CDC and FDA suggest that young children, elderly, and individuals with weak immune systems should avoid eating uncooked sprouts. Healthy people should also be careful in eating these raw sprouts. Saute them before adding them to your dishes.
Leafy greens are a-must to our vegetable salads, including lettuce, spinach, kale, endive, arugula, escarole, cabbage, and chard.
However, there are about 262 outbreaks that linked to the 8,836 reported cases of illness from 1998 to 2008.
Leafy greens can be infected by dirty water rinses, manure, and unwashed hands even before you bought them. Health authorities recommend to wash the produce to avoid getting sick. Avoid cross-contamination by washing hands properly and using separate cutting boards.
Tomatoes or lettuce may be infected when you purchased them but when these produce enters your household, make sure that you do not allow the bacteria to grow and propagate. Wash hands for about 20 seconds with warm water and soap before and after preparing any fresh produce. Wash vegetables and fruits properly under running water just before cutting, cooking, or eating, or even peeling them before eating. Separate veggies and fruits that you plan to eat uncooked from other foods.
Berries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries are sources of food poisoning.
CDC has reported a trace of an outbreak of hepatitis A in 2013 due to frozen berry mix. Another outbreak was reported in 1997 where children became sick and was traced to hepatitis A-contaminated frozen strawberries which probably from a farm worker in California, Mexico.
Cooking can kill the virus but berries need to be fully heated up to more than 85 degrees Celsius.
Melons are nutritious foods but CDC has reported some outbreaks that are associated to cantaloupes, which are members of the melon family. In 2012, there were about 261 individuals who were infected with Salmonella after eating cantaloupes from a farm in Indiana. Three of those died. A year before the outbreak, there were about 147 individuals that became sick where 33 dies after eating cantaloupes infected with Listeria.
To avoid this illness, one must scrub the outside surface of melons, just like you do with potatoes with the use of a stiff brush and running water. This means that when we slice melons, we are not bringing the bacteria to the interior of the food.
In 2012, Great Peanut Butter was recalled after 42 consumers in 20 different states became sick. The outbreak was linked to peanut butters contaminated with Salmonella. The product came from a processing plant based in New Mexico.
Consumers are encouraged to be always on watch for product recalls to avoid this disease.
Raw milk refers to a milk that did not undergo pasteurization or heat treatment to kill bacteria. It goes straight from the cow to your glass.
Omitting the pasteurization process that will mean that the same bacteria, Salmonella, from beef may be poured into your “glass of calcium.” Other bacteria found in raw milk are E. coli and Campylobacter.
To avoid this disease, avoid drinking raw milk (as well as raw milk cheese), especially when you have weak immune system and if you are pregnant.
Ice cream was linked to about 75 outbreaks with Salmonella and Staphylococcus from 1990 to 2006.
In 1994 outbreak that made 224,000 sick, it involved a batch of ice cream premix that was transported through a truck that brought non-pasteurized eggs. The batch was used to make ice cream without re-pasteurizing. Infection can also happen at home when you use raw eggs.
Cheese can be infected with bacteria such as Listeria or Salmonella that can cause miscarriages. Doctors warn pregnant women to avoid eating soft cheeses like feta, Brie, and Camembert.
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