Features / Food and Drink

How do we combat food poisoning?

FOOD poisoning affects numerous individuals on a regular basis.

Bacteria or other toxins in food, which usually cause vomiting and stomach upsets cause food poisoning.

Cooked and raw meats being stored together can cause contamination.

In Newcastle, a total of 15 alleged outbreaks were reported in the last three years. However only four of the cases were established as outbreaks related to food with confirmed cases.

Tracy Sweet, Senior Environmental Health Officer of Newcastle said:  “It’s hard to say if food poisoning is increasing, there are more places to eat out, people eat out more, businesses have more varied menus and foods travel from around the world which in itself brings problems.”

Salmonella is one of the most popular forms of food poisoning. You would usually get Salmonella when eaten contaminated foods, which lives within farm animals, which can affect meats, eggs, poultry and milk.

Anybody is at risk of getting Salmonella, but young children, the elderly and people who have problems with their immune system have a wider chance of becoming severely ill.

It is important to drink high volumes of fluids as diarrhoea and vomiting can lead to dehydration and may lose important minerals and sugars from your body.

Helen Gorman, from Acklam enjoying her glass on wine before her family meal out

Helen Gorman, from Acklam enjoying her glass on wine before her family meal out

In the last three years statistics have shown that in Teesside there has been around seven different food chains with suspected food poisoning, ranging from takeaways to care homes and restaurants. Furthermore around 31 pubs a week in the North East are closed down due to food poisoning.

Helen Gorman, 45 from Acklam, suffered food poisoning a few years ago.

“I suffered food poisoning back in 2004 from a pizza shop in Middlesbrough and have never felt so ill.

“I love eating out as saves me having to cook, it’s also a nice treat for the family to get together as a social occasion.”

Along with Melissa Major, 20, a Journalism student from Cumbria, who also suffered food poisoning last year at a local Middlesbrough Chinese restaurant, with common symptoms like: being sick, dizziness and a temperature.

“My symptoms lasted for a few months but I am still suffering from the effects of it now and it does still worry me to eat reheated rice as that is what caused my illness,” she said.

Melissa Major who suffered food poisoning back in 2014

Melissa Major who suffered food poisoning back in 2014

Wayne Flowers, Principal Environmental Health Officer at Middlesbrough Council, said: “If food is cooked properly, and handled properly, there should be no risk of food poisoning.  It is not possible to say if eating out is riskier than cooking at home.

“If you cook at home and don’t handle the food properly or permit it to become contaminated then you risk food poisoning.  If you eat out and the food handlers put your food at risk by not handling it properly then the same risk exists.

“If food is cooked properly, and handled properly, there should be no risk of food poisoning. It is not possible to say if eating out is riskier than cooking at home. If you cook at home and don’t handle the food properly or permit it to become contaminated then you risk food poisoning. If you eat out and the food handlers put your food at risk by not handling it properly then the same risk exists.

“What could be argued is that where you eat out and there are multiple consumers, for example a function, then if the food is unsafe then more people are at risk, whereas, in the home only the household is at risk.”

Washing your hands is vital and important as it removes bacteria from the hands before touching food or after visiting the toilet. Hand washing requires all parts of the hands to be washed in plenty of warm water and soap, followed by drying with a non-multiple use material.

 

One Comment

  1. This is a great piece of work on how people are suffering from food poisoning and now your telling us how to prevent it from happening! This is outstanding Well Done Jenna and keep up the good work! 🙂

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