In developed countries, most of the food-related illnesses are due to the consumption of contaminated foods or drinks concerning the number of outbreaks. The latest breaking news of food poisoning was reported in Terengganu, Malaysia with the recent consumption of “pudding buih” – a local dessert. Most of the patients developed symptoms of stomach ache, vomiting, and diarrhea after consuming the pudding. Investigations revealed that the trader had used expired eggs when making the pudding.
We all know that the microorganisms are “who” we blame to be the cause of why we have most of the food poisoning. But have you ever wondered what are the microorganisms that make us suffer?
Yes, virus, but it won’t kill you like the notorious Ebola virus. Other than coming from food or drinks, it also spreads by having direct contact with infected people, putting a contaminated finger into the mouth. Norovirus is found primarily in shellfish and oysters coming from polluted marine water. These organisms ingest viruses when filtration of the surrounding water to obtain nourishment. The outbreak of Norovirus is often linked to the not thorough cooking of foods.
It is a very common culprit to diarrhea and food-related hospitalizations. Salmonella can give a severe impact on pregnant women, elders, young children, and people with weakened immune systems. Salmonella grows and multiplies in the intestinal tracts of humans after we eat the contaminated foods. This organism is mostly associated with contaminated cheese, milk, eggs, and meat.
Campylobacter is a rod-shaped bacteria that can be destroyed by heat treatment and does not tolerate acidic conditions. Sometimes drinking raw milk can cost you days of suffering. This microorganism can hide in your body for 2 to 5 days before you realize them.
Escherichia coli can cause a low level of contamination and it is resistant to most common food acids such as lactic acid and vinegar. While most of them are harmless, but some can mess you up hard if you happen to consume any contaminated raw meat or milk. Always check your refrigeration to make sure proper temperature control to prevent the introduction of bacteria onto the raw material.
Quick science fact: This microorganism is found commonly on human skin, nostrils, and throat of healthy animals and humans. It is not harmful until it is transmitted to food products that they can multiply and produce toxins. The growth of Staphylococcus aureus does not cause any odor or flavor change on foods but the toxin produced will poison the foods.
Last but not least
Here are some suggestions to prevent foodborne illness:
- Every microbe that has mentioned above is easily destroyed by properly heating the foods. Cook beef product to a temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit (medium stage) or 170 degrees Fahrenheit (well-done stage)
- Be mindful of proper personal hygiene and sanitation during handling food. Reduce the level of contamination by cleaning and sanitizing all the utensils after use.
- Never prepare cooked food on cutting boards that have been used to prepare raw foods to prevent cross-contamination.
- When in doubt, throw it out.
If you found yourself suffering from food poisoning after the meal, you probably know who and where to complain. We hope you have learned more after this article and wish you a nice day!
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019, November 26). How Norovirus Spreads. Retrieved 26 December 2019, from https://www.cdc.gov/norovirus/about/transmission.html
- Kelvin, T.T.J. (2017, March 29). 5 Common Culprits of Food Poisoning. Retrieved 26 December 2019, from https://www.mountelizabeth.com.sg/healthplus/article/5-common-culprits-of-food-poisoning
- Barbara, G. (2019, October 17). Most Common Foodborne Pathogens. Retrieved 26 December 2019, from https://www.eatright.org/homefoodsafety/safety-tips/food-poisoning/most-common-foodborne-pathogens