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Food Poisoning – A Perilous Condition

Gayathri Saju Monday, May 9, 2022
Food Poisoning – A Perilous Condition

Hey folks! Let me narrate you a short, yet a terribly shocking incident. Surrounded with the thick fogs of boredom, I decided to watch some interesting, yet exciting videos on YouTube to freshen up my lethargic mind. A few moments later, I accidentally stumbled upon a news channel and to my astonishment, the news headlines highlighted that a young teenager died by consuming a ‘shawarma’ (a popular sandwich dish) probably from a restaurant or from the food stalls. The incident took place in Kerala, very recently. I was totally baffled by the news, but this also opened my eyes to understand the hazards of consuming outside food more oftenly and the potential precarious risks it can make any individual stumble upon.

Surely, this was a tragic incident that a young child died because of consuming a popular, yet a scrumptious snack with the exact reason being unknown and unrevealed as of now. But my dear readers, now its high time that we understand and analyze the issue of Food Poisoning. Don’t worry, the article is designed to help you comprehend what exactly is food poisoning, its causes, and consequences and how to stay away from this dangerous zone in a decent and easier way.

Generally, food poisoning is caused by some harmful pathogens (Pathogens are disease causing micro-organisms) bacteria, viruses, or toxins in the food we eat. Some of these toxins are found naturally in foods, while some have accumulated in the environment. There are some foods which you should probably avoid and that can help you from risking your precious life. For example, some wild mushrooms, including the death cap, are extremely poisonous. Large fish, such as shark, swordfish, and marlin, may accumulate relatively high levels of mercury.

What are the causes? Well, Cross-contamination — the transfer of harmful organisms from one surface to another — is often the cause. This is especially troublesome for raw, ready-to-eat foods, such as salads or other produce. Because these foods aren't cooked, harmful organisms aren't destroyed before eating and can cause food poisoning. Infectious organisms or their toxins can contaminate food at any point of processing or production. Contamination can also occur at home if food is incorrectly handled or cooked.

Some microorganisms like Salmonella, Escherichia coli or E. coli, Campylobacter, Rotavirus etc. cause most of the gastro problems (the problems that affect your stomach region).

Most common side effects are diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. But if this is a prolonged problem, it can cause death too which is rare and occasional, yet a scary phenomenon for most of us, right?

Now, how can we resolve the issue? Of course, it is practically impractical to keep preaching everyone on this planet on doing this and that to bring an end to the issue. The last thing we could do is to take care of ours and our loved one’s life from stepping into its vicious cycle of food poisoning. We must ensure clear hygienic space for cooking. Studies highlight that more than 90 percent of samples of strawberries, apples, cherries, spinach, nectarines, and grapes tested positive for residues of two or more pesticides and Kale, collard, and mustard greens, as well as hot peppers and bell peppers, had the most pesticides detected, 103 and 101 pesticides in total, respectively.

Keep raw foods separate from ready-to-eat foods. When shopping, preparing food or storing food, keep raw meat, poultry, fish and shellfish away from other foods. This prevents cross-contamination.

Cook foods to a safe temperature. The best way to tell if foods are cooked to a safe temperature is to use a food thermometer. You can kill harmful organisms in most foods by cooking them to the right temperature.

Refrigerate or freeze perishable foods promptly — within two hours of purchasing or preparing them. If the room temperature is above 90 F (32.2 C), refrigerate perishable foods within one hour.

Defrost food safely.

Throw it out when in doubt. If you aren't sure if a food has been prepared, served, or stored safely, don’t wait for a second thought to be triggered upon. Just discard it and Whoalah! You are officially freed from your dilemmatic thoughts!

Most importantly, try to avoid outside foods except when its needed or when you are obliged by circumstances. It is totally fine to consume it quite occasionally but ensure that it does not become a habit.

If at all, there are any adverse symptoms within the individual after eating spoiled food, then the patient must be taken to the doctor immediately.

I hope this article has enhanced your knowledge about food poisoning. It is not an issue to be feared of, but we must stay vigilant and exercise the proper actions to keep ourselves and others in the safe zone. Wishing you all a good day ahead and do keep reading my articles and short write-ups. Till then, signing off as Gayathri Saju.

Gayathri Saju
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