Food Poisoning Illness FAQ

Q:  Are certain foods tend to cause foodborne disease than others?

A:  Almost all foods have the tendency to become contaminated if they are mishandled. But foods that are rich in protein including meat, poultry, fish and sea food are the most susceptible because

  • Foods rich in protein generally come from animals
  • Animal foods are protein rich foods where bacteria need moisture  to survive and reproduce and they live in foods with very high moisture content.

These include the starchy, egg-rich foods and cream-based foods like potato or pasta salads, cream-based soups and custard or cream pies.

Q:  How ill can I get from eating contaminated food?

There are factors to consider in determining how you can get ill: your age, overall health, and the amount of contaminated food you have consumed. The common symptoms are diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain, however, you may not be able to experience all of these signs. People with weak immune systems can become very sick and even die from foodborne disease.

Q:  What are the symptoms of Foodborne disease?

A:  The common symptoms are as follows:

  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Vomiting
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Stools with pus or blood

Symptoms will differ according to the kind of bacteria and how much of the contaminated food was eaten. In some instances, signs may progress for many days or even weeks. Symptoms of viral or parasitic disease may not show for many days or weeks after the exposure. Symptoms are lost only for a day or two but in some cases, this can last for about 7 to 10 days. Healthy persons are neither long-lasting nor life-threatening. However, they can be severe in young children, the elder people, and people with some illnesses and conditions.

Q:  Can the symptoms of foodborne illness be mistaken for flu?

A:  Yes. Foodborne disease usually show similar to flu symptoms like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever and many persons may not recognize that the disease is caused by bacteria or other pathogens in foods.

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC, there are many intestinal diseases which are commonly referred to as stomach flu, are really caused by foodborne pathogens. Some people do not link diseases with food because they show signs after two or more days after eating the contaminated foods.

Q:  Is irradiated food safe?

A: FDA has approved the treating of red meat products with measured doses of radiation in December 2005. This procedure is usually called as irradiation where it can control E.coli 0157:H7 and other disease-causing microorganisms. Irradiated foods are sold  in the stores should include a label with either statement  “treated with radiation” or “treated by irradiation” and with the international symbol for irradiation, the adura.  Irradiation labeling does not employ to restaurant foods.

FDA assessed irradiated safety and was found the procedure to be safe and effective for many foods. FDA scientists said that in its latest review, irradiation lowers or removes pathogenic bacteria, insects, and parasites.

Q:  Why is it important to use as cooking thermometer?

A:  Bacteria develop gradually at low temperature but multiply quickly at mid-range temperature. To be safe, the foods should be cooked to an internal temperature very high enough to kill all harmful bacteria. Meat thermometer is a reliable means to make sure that the food reaches the proper temperature. Thermometers should be used properly and calibrated correctly.

Thermometers should be placed in the thickest part of the food, away from the bone, fats, or gristle. USDA said that temperature is the only way to assess whether the food is fully cooked. Looking at the color is misleading. For example, freezing and thawing may influence the tendency of the meat to brown prematurely.

Q:  Why is raw milk dangerous?

A:  Raw milk may host a disease-causing organisms or pathogens like bacteria campylobacter, Escherichia, Listeria, Salmonella, Yersinia, and brucella. The most common symptoms of foodborne disease are:

  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Stomach cramps
  • Vomiting
  • Tiredness

The pasteurization procedure uses the heat to remove bacteria without altering the nutritional value, flavor, and content of the milk. It has the ability to destroy the bacteria that cause spoilage  and therefore can prevent tuberculosis, diphtheria, polio, salmonellosis strep throat, scarlet fever, and typhoid fever. The milk becomes contaminated when the animals shed bacteria into the milk. The cows, goats, and sheep have bacteria in their intestines that do not make them sick but can bring disease to people who will consume the untreated milk or milk products.

Q:  What is the difference between viruses and bacteria?

A:  Viruses are the simplest and the smallest life form. They are ten to one-hundred times smaller compared to bacteria? The biggest difference between viruses and bacteria is that the viruses contain a living host like a plant or animal to multiply. Most of the bacteria can develop on non-living surfaces. Unlike bacteria that attack the body. Viruses do not attack or infiltrate, they just literally invade human cells and change the cells genetic substances from its normal function to producing the virus itself.

Furthermore, bacteria carry all the devices required for their development and multiplication, while the viruses bring mainly information. For instance, DNA or RNA which are packed in a protein and/or membranous coat, viruses controls the cells of the host to reproduce.

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