Food Safety - Food-Born Illness

How many food born diseases are there? There are more than 250 known ones, most of which are caused by bacteria, followed by viruses and parasites. Some of the illnesses are caused by toxins produced by the organism and other illnesses are caused by a bodily reaction to the organism.It can be controlled by maintaining safe food temperatures, good hygiene practices, frequent cleaning and sanitizing, pest control and avoiding chemical hazards.Proper hand washing and training your staff is food safety is the best defense against the spread of germs.

When a customer complains of illness associated with your business, the health department in your area should be notified immediately. Have a form ready to get all of the necessary information from the customer. Your staff should be trained how to fill this form out and it should have in it the time of visit, what the customer ate, the customer's name, address and phone number. It should also contain the symptoms the customer is experiencing and the time of onset of the illness.

Symptoms - Diarrhea (often bloody), abdominal cramping and pain, nausea and vomiting, fever and tiredness.
Onset - The symptoms generally appear two to five days after the exposure.
Duration - 2-5 days
Diagnosis - Lab test to check for campylobacter in the stool of the infected person.
Treatment - Antibiotics may be prescribed.
Prevention - Wash hands thoroughly before handling food and after handling raw meats.  Wash all food prep surfaces and utensils that come in contact with raw meats with hot soap and water.  Follow proper  cooking temp. guides for meats

Symptoms -Double vision and drooping eyelids, slurred speech, dry mouth with difficulty of swallowing and muscle weakness.
Onset - 8-36 hours after eating contaminated food but can vary from 6 hours to 10 days after.
Duration - Several days to one year. 
Diagnosis - Tests for C. botulism toxin in blood or stools by a health care provider.
Treatment - If diagnosed early, it can be treated with an antitoxin.  It can be fatal if not treated quickly and properly.
Prevention - Use strict hygienic steps when canning.  Refrigerate oils containing garlic or herbs.  Do not use damaged  canned foods.

Symptoms - Nausea, Severe abdominal cramps, watery or very bloody diarrhea, tiredness and vomiting.
Onset - 2-5 days after eating contaminated food
Duration - 5-10 days without treatment.
Diagnosis - A health care provider may use lab tests to identify E. coli in the stool of an infected person
Treatment - antibiotics are not usually helpful and antidiarrheal medicines are not recommended
Prevention - Thoroughly cook beef and beef products.  Cook ground beef patties to an internal temp. of 160 degrees F.  Wash fruits & vegetables thoroughly. Wash hands thoroughly before handling food.

Symptoms - Jaundice, fatigue, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, nausea, diarrhea and fever.
Onset - 20 to 50 days,  infectious patients  can spread the disease  before they are even aware they have it.
Duration - Full recovery is usually 2 months.
Diagnosis - Blood tests are available to accurately diagnose hepatitis A.
Treatment - There is currently no treatment for hepatitis A, although rest and proper nutrition can relieve some symptoms.
Prevention - Responsible restaurant managers will exclude ill food-handlers from work.   Food handlers must also be taught to always wash their hands with soap and water after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, and certainly before preparing food. Cooking to a temperature of 185°F or higher will inactivate the  hepatitis A virus.

Symptoms - Diarrhea, fever abdominal cramps, and headache.
Onset - 6 to 72 hours
Duration - 5-7 days
Diagnosis - Lab test to identify Salmonella in the stool of an infected person.
Treatment - Most cases clear up in 5-7 days. People with severe  diarrhea may need intravenous fluids.
Prevention - Wash hands well after going to the bathroom and before eating or preparing food. Cook all meats, particularly poultry, pork, egg products and meat dishes thoroughly. Disinfect food preparation surfaces and utensils after each use (1 tsp. liquid household bleach per gallon of water). Do not rinse. Let air dry. Prepare the bleach solution fresh daily. Do not eat raw or undercooked eggs. Drink only pasteurized milk.
Refrigerate food promptly.

Symptoms - People exposed to the shigelloses germ may experience mild or severe diarrhea, often with fever and traces of blood or mucous in the stool. Some infected people may not show any symptoms.
Onset - One to seven days after exposure but usually within two to three days.
Duration - Persons with diarrhea usually recover completely, although it may be several months before their bowel habits are entirely normal.
Diagnosis - Laboratory tests that identify Shigelloses in the stools of an infected person.  The laboratory can also do special tests to tell which type of Shigella the person has and which antibiotics, if any, would be best to treat it
Treatment - Shigellosis can usually be treated with antibiotics.  Persons with mild infections will usually recover quickly without antibiotic treatment.
Prevention - The single most important prevention activity is careful hand washing .

Symptoms - Diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, cramps, and weakness
Onset - 1-6 hours
Duration - 24-48 hours
Diagnosis - The illness is usually diagnosed by symptoms and quick onset, but your doctor may order tests to rule out other conditions.
Treatment - There is no medicine to cure staphylococcal food poisoning. There is no vaccine (shot) to prevent it. Your doctor may recommend medicine to lessen the symptoms or fluids to prevent dehydration (severe fluid loss). Drinking lots of fluids helps your body replace fluids lost by diarrhea and vomiting.
Prevention - Keep hot foods hot (at or above140° F) and cold foods cold (at or below 41° F). Do not store foods longer than four hours at room temperature. Cool cooked foods as soon as possible using shallow, uncovered containers or covered containers vented to allow heat to escape. Cool and reheat foods one time. Exclude food handlers with exposed infections, such as a boil or cut on the hands, from food preparation and handling. Touch food with bare hands as little as possible. Do not handle food with bare hands after touching your face or if you have open sores on your hands. Wash hands with soap and water before preparing food. If you touch your face while preparing food, wash your hands handling food again


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