In order to fight your enemies, you have got to know and understand them; the same applies to food safety. These are 3 potential foodborne illnesses that may harm your diners:
1. Foodborne infections
Microorganisms cannot be seen by the naked eye. These bacteria or viruses can cause foodborne infections. Do not be complacent and make sure you pay attention to these potentially dangerous food sources.
Common food sources Common effects Raw or unpasteurised dairy products, raw or undercooked meat and poultry. Fever, vomiting, diarrhoea, nausea. Raw or undercooked fish and shellfish sourced from contaminated waters. Vomiting, watery diarrhoea. Coma and death from complications in severe cases. Raw or unpasteurised dairy products, raw-meat sausages that have been fermented, raw and cooked meats, raw and smoked fish. Fever, diarrhoea, nausea.
2. Foodborne intoxications
Foodborne intoxications are caused when a person consumes food that contains faeces, dirt or other contaminants. There are 3 ways to detect the contamination.
- Look (discolouration and mould)
- Smell (rancid and mouldy smells)
- Touch (mushy raw meat and seafood)
If you detect any of the above, throw away the food immediately – it is almost impossible to clean the food by washing or cooking.
Common food sources Common effects Improperly canned low-acid food (e.g. vegetables and cured meat). Weakness, double vision, vomiting, nausea. Death from complications in severe cases. Rice and other starchy foods that are left at room temperature for too long. Watery diarrhoea, vomiting, nausea. Transferred to foods by hands that have touched the nose, ears, mouth and infected pimples; also transferred through saliva. Vomiting, nausea, diarrhoea, abdominal cramps.
3. Toxin-mediated infections
These are caused by toxins present in contaminated food. It is almost impossible to detect as the food smells and tastes normal and causes reactions only after consumption.
Common food sources Common effects High-protein foods of animal origin (e.g. meat sauce, stews, gravies), and milk. Flatulence, diarrhoea, abdominal cramps. Dehydration or even death in severe cases. Raw or unpasteurised dairy products, raw or undercooked meat and poultry, contaminated water, contaminated salads and fruits. Fever, vomiting, nausea, bloody diarrhoea, severe abdominal cramps. Can result in death in severe cases.