July 13, 2007

Bacteria and Foodborne Illness- Continuation

http://living4good.blogspot.com/2007/07/bacteria-and-foodborne-illness_13.htmlWhat is food irradiation?
Food irradiation is the treatment of food with high energy such as gamma rays, electron beams, or x rays as a means of cold pasteurization, which destroys living bacteria to control foodborne illnesses. The United States relies exclusively on the use of gamma rays, which are similar to ultraviolet light and microwaves and pass through food leaving no residue. Food irradiation is approved for wheat, potatoes, spices, seasonings, pork, poultry, red meats, whole fresh fruits, and dry or dehydrated products. Although irradiation destroys many bacteria, it does not sterilize food. Even if you’re using food that has been irradiated by the manufacturer, you must continue to take precautions against foodborne illnesses—through proper refrigeration and handling—to safeguard against any surviving organisms. If you are traveling with food, make sure perishable items such as meats are wrapped to prevent leakage. Be sure to fill the cooler with plenty of ice and store it in the car, not the trunk. If any food seems warmer than 40°F, throw it out.

Scientists suspect that foodborne pathogens are linked to chronic disorders and can even cause permanent tissue or organ destruction. Research suggests that when some people are infected by foodborne pathogens, the activation of their immune system can trigger an inappropriate autoimmune response, which means the immune system attacks the body’s own cells. In some people, an autoimmune response leads to a chronic health condition. Chronic disorders that may be triggered by foodborne pathogens are

inflammatory bowel disease
kidney failure
Guillain-Barré syndrome
autoimmune disorders
Further research is needed to explain the link between these disorders and foodborne illnesses.

Common Sources of Foodborne Illness
Sources of illness: Raw and undercooked meat and poultry
Symptoms: Abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting
Bacteria: Campylobacter jejuni, E. coli O157:H7, L. monocytogenes, Salmonella

Sources of illness: Raw foods; unpasteurized milk and dairy products, such as soft cheeses
Symptoms: Nausea, vomiting, fever, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea
Bacteria: L. monocytogenes, Salmonella, Shigella, Staphylococcus aureus, C. jejuni

Sources of illness: Raw and undercooked eggs. Raw eggs are often used in foods such as homemade hollandaise sauce, caesar and other salad dressings, tiramisu, homemade ice cream, homemade mayonnaise, cookie dough, and frostings.
Symptoms: Nausea, vomiting, fever, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea
Bacterium: Salmonella enteriditis

Sources of illness: Raw and undercooked shellfish
Symptoms: Chills, fever, and collapse
Bacteria: Vibrio vulnificus, Vibrio parahaemolyticus

Sources of illness: Improperly canned goods; smoked or salted fish
Symptoms: Double vision, inability to swallow, difficulty speaking, and inability to breathe. Seek medical help right away if you experience any of these symptoms.
Bacterium: C. botulinum

Sources of illness: Fresh or minimally processed produce; contaminated water
Symptoms: Bloody diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting
Bacteria: E. coli O157:H7, L. monocytogenes, Salmonella, Shigella, Yersinia enterocolitica, viruses, and parasites


Points to Remember
Foodborne illnesses result from eating food or drinking beverages that are contaminated with bacteria, viruses, or parasites.

People at greater risk for foodborne illnesses include young children, pregnant women and their fetuses, older adults, and people with lowered immunity.

Symptoms usually resemble intestinal flu. See a doctor immediately if you have more serious problems or do not seem to be improving as expected.

Treatment may range from replacement of lost fluids and electrolytes for mild cases of foodborne illnesses to hospitalization for severe conditions such as HUS.

You can prevent foodborne illnesses by taking the following precautions:

Wash your hands with warm, soapy water before and after preparing food and after using the bathroom or changing diapers.

Keep raw meat, poultry, seafood, and their juices away from ready-to-eat foods.

Cook foods properly and at a high enough temperature to kill harmful bacteria.

Refrigerate foods within 2 hours or less after cooking because cold temperatures will help keep harmful bacteria from growing and multiplying.

Clean surfaces well before and after using them to prepare food.