Vancouver First Aid proudly offers food safe training throughout the Lower Mainland. In this course candidates learn basic skills and techniques for preparing and handling foods and staying healthy by washing hands and dish wares. This article will examine some common forms of food poisoning that can occur when individuals with a poor understanding of food preparation techniques prepare food. Many people are required to take food safe training when working in the food preparing or servicing industry. We offer food safe courses (more information here) in Vancouver, Burnaby, Richmond, Surrey, Coquitlam and Delta. To register for any food safe course visit our food safe training page or our food safe level 1 or 2 pages.
Food Poisoning – Salmonella
Salmonella is the most popular form of food poisoning after campylobacter. Its symptoms include sudden headache, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea that may persist for up to seven days. The range of severity is from mild to extreme as some may experience mild pain while others may die. When one thinks of salmonella, one should assume poultry and more specifically raw eggs and chicken. Salmonella lives within the intestines of chickens without affecting the chicken or the environment around it. However, when the poultry is being slaughtered and processed, the salmonella bacteria may spread. The strain is not limited to poultry alone as the bacteria may spread to fruits and vegetables. The strain can affect the seed or the entire sprout. One must carefully wash all utensils and all equipment thoroughly to avoid cross contamination. When handling raw poultry be sure to thoroughly cook them and wash all hands/equipment that touched raw poultry. As greater measures are taken to prevent the spread and educate the public about proper handling procedures, the salmonella strain is unfortunately getting more resistant to antibiotics.
Food Poisoning – E-Coli
E-Coli is scientifically known as Escherichia coli that is present in our intestines that aids in the digestion of food. Most aid the digestion of food however there are a few strains that are designed to cause pain and in extreme cases kill the host. There are 4 levels of e-coli that will harm humans: enter invasive, entheropathogenic, enterotoxogenic and O157:H7. Entherpathogenic E coli affects infants that will result in bloody or watery diarrhea. This largely occurs in less developed areas where water may be tainted and mainly bottle-fed infants (as bread-fed babies will be ‘filtered’ from the dirty water). As a result, infants have a 50% mortality rate as sufficient preventative care is not available. Enteroinvasive E coli is extremely aggressive strain and will destructively line the intestine cells and cause dysentery. Common affects include abdominal cramps, diarrhea, chills, fever, vomiting, blood in stool and malaise. It is commonly a result of hamburgers, dairy products or even potato salad. Symptoms will last 12 to 72 hours but extreme cases lead to haemolytic ureic syndrome. Enterotoxigenic E coli commonly affects those travelling abroad as it occurs to visitors of developed countries visiting less developed areas. Common symptoms include water diarrhea, fever, nausea, cramps and malaise. This strain requires million to billions of bacteria in order to produce illness. It is mainly caused by dairy and cheese products.
E. Coli O157:H7 was first discovered in 1982 as a result of 47 violently sick individuals from Michigan and Oregon came forward. This strain attacks blood vessels in the intestines which will first cause bloody diarrhea as well as abdominal pain. 92-98% will recover but that remaining 2-7% have succumbed to haemolytic ureic syndrome. This extreme disease affects blood and kidneys and affects children which leads to kidney failure. HUS occurs in the person’s intestines which then streams blood throughout the body. Then once in the blood stream, it affects vessels all over the victim’s body which then kills cells. As there is too much dead cells for the kidney to process, it will shut down and as a result it is a domino effect of failing organs. There is no known cure as antibiotics fail to benefit the host. Only dialysis can help as kidneys fail and even then long term affects include diabetes, kidney damage, etc. O157:H7 is tied to cows and again is passed through the slaughter process as fecal material affects the meat that humans consume. In order to avoid contracting said disease, you should cook burgers to 160 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition to cattle, O157:H7 can be passed through water that has been in contact with cattle feces. As a result, fruits and vegetables tainted with that water could grow and infect anyone who eats those produce.
Food Poisoning – Shigella
Shigella is less known disease but is still potent. Only 10 cells can cause an infection. As with other diseases, it causes pain, cramps, fever, vomiting and diarrhea but can lead to Reiter’s syndrome, arthritis and HUS. This strain is commonly found in salads, vegetables, milk/dairy products and chickens.
Food Poisoning – Staphylococcus
Staphylococcus affects eggs, most salads and bakery products (mainly cream filled varieties) but also affects meat, poultry and dairy products. Staphylococcus is always on our skin and nasal passages but higher among hospital workers. It is hard to prevent the spread of this disease even if you wash extensively and thoroughly. Most cases go away within 2 days and may be misattributed to other sicknesses due to its vague symptoms and quick duration.
Learn to protect yourself and others from food poisoning by taking a food safe course in the Vancouver Lower Mainland through Vancouver First Aid Ltd. We offer the lowest prices on all level’s of food safe training.