- Personal Health Information & Self-Help
What is Food Poisoning? How do I not get food poisoning?
The Importance of Food Sanitation
Food sanitation may seem like an unimportant or boring topic, however it is actually a matter of life and death, especially for the extremely young, old, pregnant, or ill patients. Eating has the possibility of becoming hazardous to the health unless three general principles are followed: 1) conditions when preparing and consuming the food should be clean, 2) when in doubt, throw it out, and 3) hot foods stay hot and cold foods stay cold (above 140 degrees Fahrenheit or under 40 degrees Fahrenheit).
Lack of sanitation, insufficient cooking, and improper storage can allow bacteria in food to increase to dangerous levels. Most food borne illnesses result from a bacterial growth in food held at improper temperatures and poor personal hygiene of food handlers. Some bacteria produce poisonous substances called toxins that cause illness when contaminated food is eaten.
Types of Food Poisoning
The most common types of food poisoning are caused by bacteria, mainly:
- Staphylococcus aureus
- Clostridium botulinum
- Clostridium perfringens
- E. coli
Food Safety Agencies
The health of the entire community depends on safe food and water supplies. Many agencies promote good sanitation practices to prevent communicable diseases, or diseases that can spread from person to person through water, food, contact, or air. These agencies are concerned with all aspects of food quality, including food preservation and food additives, as well as the prevention of both natural and bacterial food poisoning, waterborne diseases, and the dangerous effects of pesticides and other toxic chemicals. The U.S. Public Health Service is the primary health agency for the United States federal government. It concerns itself with all the factors of the public community concerning nutrition. FIGHT BAC is a national effort to educate the public on the importance of preventing food-borne illness and strategies to accomplish this.
Have you ever had food poisoning?
How to Treat food Poisoning
Guidelines for Food Poison Preventions
- Serve food promptly after cooking or refrigerate promptly.
- Keep food in the refrigerator until used.
- Speed the cooking of leftover by storing them in shallow containers.
- Keep hot foods above 140°F.
- Keep cold foods below 40°F.
- Make sure all dishes, utensils, and work surfaces are clean and sterilized with warm soapy water and disinfectant when appropriate.
- Always clean spills with disposable material.
- If any food is questionable (odor, smell, consistency) do not taste it, dispose of it.
Common Food Poisoning Symptoms
Food poisoning symptoms usually begin 2-6 hours after consuming infected food. The standard symptoms include: headaches, fever, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, and weakness. Due to the vomiting and diarrhea, dehydration is a common secondary symptom that can be just as dangerous and cause the other symptoms to become worse.