What is foodborne illness?
A foodborne illness is a disease that is transmitted to humans by food. Recent developments in diagnosing and tracking reported illnesses have helped the public become more aware that certain types of illness may be related to the food they ate prior to becoming sick.
The U.K and the U.S. Public Health Service www.basicgfoodhygiene.co.uk classifies moist, high-protein, and/or low acid foods as potentially hazardous. High protein foods consist, in whole or in part, of milk or milk products, shell eggs, meats, poultry, fish, shellfish, edible crustacea (shrimp, lobster, crab). Baked or boiled potatoes, tofu and other soy protein foods, plant foods that have been heat-treated, and raw seed sprouts (such as alfalfa or bean sprouts) also pose a hazard. These foods can support rapid growth of infectious or disease-causing microorganisms
Who is at risk?
Our immune system helps fight infection, but the immune systems of very young children, pregnant women, and the elderly, and chronically ill people are at greatest risk to develop foodborne infections.
Who is at risk?
Our immune system helps fight infection, but the immune systems of very young children, pregnant women, and the elderly, and chronically ill people are at greatest risk to develop foodborne infections..
Infants and children, in particular, produce less acid in their stomachs, making it easier for them to get sick.
For pregnant women, the fetus is at risk because it does not have a fully developed immune system.
What is Cross-contamination?
Cross-contamination is the transportation of harmful substances to food by:
Hands that touch raw foods, such as chicken, then touch food that will not be cooked, like salad ingredients.
Surfaces, like cutting boards or cleaning cloths, that touch raw foods, are not cleaned and sanitized, then touch ready-to-eat food.
Raw or contaminated foods that touch or drip fluids on cooked or ready-to-eat foods.
Microorganisms are everywhere. You may not see, taste, or smell them, but they hide on your body, in the air, on kitchen counters and utensils, and in food. The main microorganisms are viruses, parasites, fungi and bacteria
Viruses are the tiniest, and probably the simplest, form of life. They are not able to reproduce outside a living cell. Once they enter a cell, they force it to make more viruses.
Some viruses are extremely resistant to heat and cold. They don’t need potentially hazardous food to survive, and once in the food, they don’t multiply. The food is mainly a transportation device to get from one host to another.
Parasites need to live on or in a host to survive. Examples of parasites that may contaminate food are trichinella spiralis (trichinosis) that affects pork, and anisakis roundworm, that affects fish.
Fungi can be microscopic or as big as a giant mushroom. Fungi are found in the air, soil, plants, animals, water, and some food. Molds and yeast are fungi.
Of all the microorganisms, bacteria are the greatest threat to food safety. Bacteria are single-celled, living organisms that can grow quickly at favorable temperatures. Some bacteria are useful. We use them to make foods like cheese, buttermilk, sauerkraut, pickles, and yogurt. Other bacteria are infectious disease-causing agents called pathogens that use the nutrients found in potentially hazardous foods to multiply.