You have probably heard of Salmonella and E. coli (Escherichia coli). Both are bacteria responsible for food poisoning causing acute gastroenteritis. This type of infection will manifest as headache, fever, abdominal pain or diarrhoea that shows up 12 to 48 hours after the ingestion of food contaminated by either of these bacteria.
A healthy adult exposed to this type of infection will usually heal in a week’s time. But for a weakened person, there are risks of serious complications. Several antibiotics are effective in treating these infections.
Food-related infections occur when there is contamination of certain foods: raw or undercooked eggs, raw milk, contaminated water, raw or undercooked meat or poultry.
The best protection is prevention. Here are a few simple hygiene rules that need to be followed :
Wash your hands often with soap before, during and after meal preparation;
Using bleach, carefully clean all surfaces used to prepare food, especially meat;
Don’t let raw meat come into contact with other foods;
Use different cutting boards for different types of food (meat, fruits and vegetables, bread, etc.) to prevent cross contamination;
Refrigerate food in small containers;
Cook food thoroughly, especially meat, poultry and eggs.
No need to panic! A whole range of sanitary and veterinarian controls have been put in place to prevent food contamination. We simply need to be cautious when handling food.
Ask your pharmacist for more information on this subject. Don’t be shy to ask for his or her help!