I have seen a “rash” of food poisoning patients this week in Wichita. It’s time for some food safety education. First off, the CDC defines a foodborne disease outbreak as any cluster of two or more people who develop similar symptoms after eating a common food.
The cause of food poisoning can be chemical, bacterial or viral. Clues for the cause may be evident by the timing between eating . . .and symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea.
Commercially (or institutionally prepared food) causes 79 percent of food poisoning cases. Our society is fast-paced and on the move, grabbing food on the go. This burgeoning market for quick, convenient, and inexpensive food requires careful handling and food storage.
Irradiation of food is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. It is extremely effective in reducing pathogens in flour, fruits, vegetables, meats and spices. Irradiating food prolongs shelf life, delays ripening time for fruit, and destroys the bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses.
Other rules to follow
- Avoid contact between cooked and uncooked foods.
- Refrigerate foods promptly after purchase, preparation, or eating.
- Wash hands and preparation surfaces after touching raw meats, poultry, fish, and eggs (before contact with other food)
- Cook meats, poultry, fish, and eggs thoroughly
- Maintain proper refrigerator (32-40 degrees F) and freezer (0 degree F) temperatures
- never leave cooked foods at room temperature for more than two hours (shorter during summertime).