Food borne illness, commonly known as food poisoning is any illness resulting from the consumption of the contaminated food. Symptoms of food borne illness typically begin several hours to several days after consumption and depending on the causative agent involved it can lead to one or more of the following symptoms: nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, gastroenteritis, fever, headache and fatigue.
In many cases, the patient is able to recover from the short period of discomfort. But in some cases it may lead to permanent health problems and even death. People at high risk of food borne illness include babies, young children, pregnant women (and their illness), elderly people, sick people and people with weak immunity.
Food borne illness is the frequent uninvited guest especially during the holiday season, summer season or any social or family gatherings. And it is often the food handler that who allows it to come in and setup housekeeping.
Food borne illness at social gatherings is one of the primary concerns for most of the common people. That is one of the reasons why many people tend to avoid the social gatherings and the functions.
Prevention of food borne illness is one of the most vital components towards the practice of personal hygiene. Below mentioned are few important points that if kept in mind will prevent the food from getting contaminated and thus will help prevent the spread of food illness:
• Clean: Wash hands and food-contact surfaces often. Bacteria can spread through the kitchen and get onto cutting boards, knives, sponges and counter tops.
• Separate: Prevent the food from cross contamination. Don’t let bacteria and other microorganisms spread from one food to another. This especially applies to raw meat, poultry and sea food. These categories of food should always be kept away from the ready to eat food.
• Cook: Cook to particular temperature. Foods are properly cooked when they are heated for a long time and at a high enough temperature. This kills the harmful microorganisms which can lead to food borne illness.
• Chill: Refrigerate promptly. It is advisable to refrigerate foods quickly because cold temperatures keep most of the bacteria away from growing and multiplying. Refrigerators should be kept at 400F and the freezer should be kept at 00F. these conditions are necessary for the proper preservation of the eatables.
Following these certain habits, one can prevent the food borne illness to a large extent.