Food Poisoning by Bacteria

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Quite often, however, the symptoms of food poisoning are relatively mild and may not require medical attention. Such cases are not reported, so it is difficult to know how many cases are there in each year, however, it is clear that food poisoning is a widespread problem.

Food poisoning by bacteria is a notifiable disease so you have to inspect your food-serving premises and shops to identify the cause of the illness and prevent its recurrence. Bacteria can be transferred to food by several means, including:

· Using the same utensils to serve contaminated food.

· Careless attention to personal hygiene while handling food, e.g. not washing hands after visiting the toilet, touching nose while preparing food.

· Leaving skin infections and cuts uncovered while preparing food.

· Coughing, sneezing, or spitting while preparing food.

· Incomplete cleansing of food utensils and serving dishes.

· Pests, e.g. houseflies, cockroaches, beetles, certain moths.

· Rodents, e.g. rats, mice.

· Household pets, e.g. dogs, cats, hamsters.

· Infected or diseased cattle and dairy cows.

· Contaminated water supply.

· Soil and dust.

Once bacteria have been transferred to a food, they will grow and multiply under the following conditions:

· Incomplete thawing and cooking of certain foods, e.g. poultry, pork

· Holding cooked foods, e.g. chicken, shellfish, at room temperature before serving.

· Incomplete or repeated cooking of leftover food.

· Careless storage of food.

Reasons for the increase in the number of cases of food poisoning include:

· More ready-prepared foods are eaten, e.g. meat pies, pasties, partly cooked breads.

· More people eat out at restaurants, take- away shops, and hotels. Large-scale catering may result in outbreaks of food poisoning.

· Increased importing of food, from countries where food hygiene laws may not be strictly enforced.

· Increased importing of animal feeds, which may be contaminated and will infect the animals that eat them.

· Insufficient training of staff who handle food.

· Failure by consumers to store food correctly and use it by the recommended date.

· Temperature too high in domestic freezer or refrigerator, leading to the growth of bacteria.

Recommended guidelines to avoid food poisoning state:

Babies, elderly people, people recovering from illness, and pregnant women should never eat raw egg in any form. Eggs should be well cooked so that both white and yolk are solid. Pregnant women and people with a low resistance to infection should avoid eating soft, ripened cheeses (e.g. Brie, blue- veined, Camembert) or under-heated cook-chill ready-made meals.

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Source by Muhd Asif Raza

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