11 May

Foodborne Illnesses

The Center for Disease Control or CDC estimates that food borne illneses are responsible for 76 million people per year in the United States becoming sick, 300,000 hospitalized, and 5,000 deaths.  Food can be a medium for transmitting disease.  Foodborne illnesses normally result from pathogenic bacteria or their toxins being present during processing, handling, or preparation.  Food handlers can transmit opportunistic pathogens associated with the human body like Staphylococcus aureus or intestinal bacteria because of unsanitary practices such as failure to wash their hands before preparing or handling food.  Botulism food poisoning results from ingesting a toxin produced by Clostridium botulinum when its endospores grow in improperly home canned foods.  The endospores occur in the soil and the environment and contaminate the prepared vegetables.  Salmonella and Campylobacter are associated with poultry and eggs and can cause illnes if these foods are not properly prepared.  Special care must be taken when preparing foods in order to reduce the bacterial counts of pathogenic bacteria.