Do You Know What’s Lurking in Your Food?

Imagine enjoying a nice meal at your local Italian food joint – warm bread dipped in olive oil, rich and creamy pasta sauce, and hearty meatballs to top it off. The next day you feel crampy and begin vomiting. Food poisoning.

Although that savory meal showed no signs of contamination, what we don’t see behind the kitchen doors are that the surfaces may be contaminated by fecal matter. What many people don’t know is that there are symptoms of food poisoning that are able to linger for weeks to months after the initial episode.

How does Food become Contaminated?

Food poisoning can occur if eggs, poultry, red meat or seafood are served raw or undercooked. For example, if you consume raw meat or uncooked eggs, you are at risk for ingesting Salmonella – which is an unpleasant experience.

Additionally, unclean surfaces that have been touched with fecal matter can spread contamination into food and water.

The last and more uncommon case, is when a food source raw or cooked has been infected by an external bacterium and makes the food unsafe to consume.

What is the Most Common Type of Food Poisoning?

Salmonella which is are dangerous bacteria that lives in the gut once infected. Salmonella can cause uncomfortable side effects like diarrhea, cramps, and vomiting and can last usually 4 to 7 days.

Each year there are around 7,800 cases of Salmonella poisoning and in 2013, there were 33 deaths caused by this foodborne illness. Salmonella is most commonly found in eggs, meat, and poultry but can also be found on fruits and vegetables.

How does Food Poisoning Affect the Body?

Food poisoning can come in a variety of different ways – contaminated water or food, undercooked meat or seafood, and unrefrigerated meats. These different types of contaminations call for different symptoms and levels of severity of each case. Many signs of food poisoning are diarrhea, cramps, vomiting, nausea and fever.

According to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, there are 48 million cases of foodborne illness each year; this number equates to rough 1 in 6 American experiencing food poisoning a year. Out of these illnesses, the result is a staggering 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths.

Common Foods that Can Cause Food Poisoning

These foods listed below are where food poisoning has been more prevalent, but with proper caution and care, these foods can be enjoyed and not avoided.

  1.     Leafy greens
  2.     Eggs (Salmonella)
  3.     Meat (E. coli)
  4.     Tuna
  5.     Oysters (Vibrio vulnificus)
  6.     Potatoes (Listeria, E. coli, Salmonella, and Shigella)
  7.     Cheese (Salmonella or Listeria)
  8.     Ice Cream (Salmonella and Staphylococcus)
  9.     Tomatoes
  10.  Sprouts
  11.  Berries (Hepatitis A)
  12.  Peanut Butter (Salmonella)
  13.  Melons (Salmonella)
  14.  Raw Milk (Salmonella, Campylobacter, E. coli)

How to Prevent the Spread of Bacteria

Those with lower immune systems like children and the elderly are more prone to foodborne illnesses and can have more serious symptoms that linger for longer. A few ways to prevent the spread of this harmful bacteria is:

- Food-handlers thoroughly washing their hands before preparing foods
- Ensuring meat and seafood is cooked all the way through
- Using different cutting boards for raw meat and veggies
- Avoiding perishable foods that have been sitting out (ex. potluck)

Related:
How to Pack a Safer Lunch for School or Work
How to Avoid Food Poisoning
Top 10 Riskiest Foods

52 comments

Jim Ven
Jim V6 days ago

thanks

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Jim Ven
Jim V6 days ago

thanks

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Jerome S
Jerome S6 days ago

thanks for sharing

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Jerome S
Jerome S6 days ago

thanks for sharing

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Jerome S
Jerome S9 days ago

thanks

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Jerome S
Jerome S9 days ago

thanks

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Jim Ven
Jim V9 days ago

thanks for sharing

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Jim Ven
Jim V9 days ago

thanks for sharing

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Sophie M
Sophie M10 days ago

thank you for sharing

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Paola S
Paola S19 days ago

Thanks

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