Eight people died and 350 were admitted to a hospital from food poisoning yesterday in the United States. Over 40% of the time it was traceable to restaurants.
While environmental toxins, in our food, may catch attention, the real threat to our food safety, internationally, is microbiological.
The most serious microbiological risk is E.Coli in red meat. The prevailing opinion has been that eating bloody steak is safe and that ground meats should be thoroughly cooked. The use of “meat glue” and the practice of injection of meats with antibiotics and chemicals have changed that. E. Coli lurks in all our red meats. It poisons and kills. E Coli kills the young, the old and the debilitated.
Bacteria can cause reactive arthritis, Guillain-Barre syndrome, ulcerative colitis, hepatitis and kidney failure. Patients suffer chronic joint pain, paralysis, chronic diarrhea and the need for dialysis.
Poorly cooked seafood is the most frequently contaminated food. Sprouts should never be eaten; fruits in drinks are a huge risk. Lettuce, melons, ice, soda fountains are risky.
To impact on Food Safety, we need to understand and address causes.
- Sick employees cause 18% of foodborne illness outbreaks.
- Over half of food workers have worked a shift while ill.
- Dirty hands are everywhere. The data is stunning.
- Sadly, our school cafeterias are still risky. 6% of bloody bowel infections are traced to schools.
Once we understand the cause, we can make changes.
- Red meats and seafood need to be properly cooked.
- Some foods need to be avoided.
- Sick food workers should not work. Policies should be clear and enforced.
- Gloves need to be worn during food preparation.
The public needs to know it is their right to demand excellence!