Ironically, industrialization and technological development have submerged the world into a fast paced and busy economy. As such, people have very little or no time to carter for themselves not to talk of the most basic need “food.” Due to this, fast food joints are springing in their numbers to carter for the needs of this group of people. Restaurants like these mass produce food, that is, they are typically prepared and served quicker than the traditional home cooked meals and examples of such places include McDonalds, Burger King, Southern Fries and a lot more. Most of the foods served in these places include; sandwiches, pitas, chicken, ice cream and so forth. These foods if not handled with care are most susceptible to toxins and bacteria which cause food borne illnesses.

Sources of food contamination.

Illnesses of this nature stem from food contamination by bacteria, viruses, molds, parasites and toxins. The top five illnesses noted by World Health Organization are Norovirus, Hepatitis A, Salmonella Typhi, E. coli and Shigella spp. The Center for Disease Control estimates that each year 48 million people are affected with contaminated food, 128,000 of them are hospitalized and 3,000 end up dead.

food born illnesses

Common sources of food contamination are; wrong storage temperatures which may be hazardous, utilization of contaminated utensils, buying from unsafe sources and poor employee hygiene. It is essential to practice safe food handling methods at home and in food establishments to prevent an outbreak like the 1964 Typhoid outbreak that occurred in the United Kingdom as a result of contaminated corn beef imported from Argentina.

Symptoms, prevention and cure of food borne illnesses.

Once one has ingested contaminated food, manifestations take from a few hours to days depending on the causal agents. For example, Salmonella found mostly in raw or poorly cooked food, poultry, sea foods and dairy products takes between 6 to 48 hours before symptoms start showing while Shigella a bacteria from person to person takes between 4 to 7 days. It is worthy to note that some people such as; younger children, pregnant women, older adults and persons with illnesses that affect their immune system are more susceptible to these illnesses. Symptoms such as vomiting, cramping, diarrhea, jaundice, sore throat with fever are the common signs of food poisoning.

In order to avoid contamination of food, proper hygiene should be carried out as directed by authorities, employees should wash their hands properly, gloves should be worn to ensure no hand contact with ready to eat food, and food should be stored properly and cooked sufficiently.

While some cases of food poisoning are mild and require no form of treatment, others are severe thus necessitating treatment. In case of food poisoning, take lots of liquids; avoid taking solids, greasy, sweet and spicy foods. Only resort to medications at the request of a doctor.

Almost 47% of money spent on food in the United States is spent on food from restaurants, Thus, Proper handling of food is very necessary to prevent food born illnesses.

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