What is Food Poisoning?

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Food poisoning

Food poisoning refers to an ailment that occurs after a person has consumed contaminated food. However, many people feel better even without having to seek treatment. Food poisoning is usually caused by bacteria such as Escherichia coli or salmonella or viruses like norovirus. A victim of food poisoning begins showing symptoms one to three days after consuming contaminated food. Common symptoms include a feeling of being sick, diarrhea, vomiting and stomach cramps. There are toxins that can accelerate food poisoning within a short time. When such toxins are present, the main symptom exhibited is vomiting. Some of the food are susceptible to food poisoning when not stored, handled or prepared well include poultry and raw meat, raw eggs, unpasteurized milk and raw shellfish. ‘Ready to eat’ products like soft cheese, pate, cooked meat slices and pre-packed sandwiches can also cause food poisoning.

How food gets contaminated

There are various ways through which food gets contaminated. Of importance to note is that food may get contaminated at any point during processing, storage, production or cooking. For instance, food poisoning may be as a result of not allowing food to cook well especially in the case of pork, poultry, kebabs and sausages. For foods that require chilling below 5 degrees Celsius, food poisoning can occur as a result of not keeping food in a freezer. Exposing cooked food to warm temperatures for a long time can also lead to formation of food poisoning bacteria as well as touching food with dirty hands. If a sick person comes into contact with food, they could pass on bacteria that cause food poisoning. This is why washing hand with soap is highly recommended before touching food. The other major cause of food poisoning is taking expired products and cross-contamination which involves spreading bacteria from foods that are already contaminated.

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