Health Safety - Food Poisoning

Center Pigeon Volunteer Fire Department, Inc. P.O. Box 875, Canton, NC 28716    Tel: 828.648.0810



Health Safety - Food Poisoning

Each year approximately 76 million Americans are exposed to some form of foodborne bacteria from food that is not properly prepared or stored. Approximately 325,000 people are hospitalized each year due to some form of food poisoning. There are approximately 250 known foodborne pathogens or agents (Bacteria, Parasites, Viruses) that are the common cause of infection.

When you prepare food for yourself and your family remember to:

1. Wash your hands with soap and water before and after handling any type of food.
2. Wash all fruit and vegetables before consuming them.
3. Make sure that all food is thoroughly cooked.
4. Properly clean all utensils and appliances after you have used them.
5. Clean and disinfect all food prep areas before and after you use this space.
6. People who are infected with foodborne germs may have no symptoms or develop symptoms ranging from mild intestinal discomfort to diarrhea, to severe dehydration.

The five most common foodborne illnesses are:

Escherichia coli (E-coli)
Salmonellosis / Salmonella
Shigellosis / Bacillary Dysentery

Rare but serious illness caused by botulinum toxin (poison). It affects the nerves and if untreated it can cause possible paralysis or life threatening complications. There are approximately 10-30 cases reported every year from this, infection. Botulism toxin is found in environments where there is little or no oxygen like soil. Botulism is most often found in:
Canned foods
Improperly baked potatoes
Seek medical attention if you experience one or more of the following:

Double vision/ drooping eye lids
Slurred speech
Dry mouth/ difficulty swallowing
Muscle weakness.

To reduce the chances of becoming ill remember to:

Boil canned food before consumption
Refrigerate oils with garlic or herbs
Keep potatoes hot until served or refrigerate immediately
Do not feed infants honey

Infectious disease caused by campylobacter bacteria it most often affects children and young adults. It is the leading cause of bacterial diarrhea illness in the U.S. Cause of infection is from handling:
Raw poultry
Consuming under cooked poultry
Drinking non-chlorinated water
Drinking raw milk
If you are infected with this foodborne illness, symptoms may include:

Abdominal cramps / discomfort
Nausea / vomiting

To reduce the chances of becoming ill remember to:

1. Wash hands before and after handling food or raw meat
2. Clean all food prep areas with hot water and soap
3. Ensure that all food is fully cooked before consumption
4. Drink only pasteurized milk
5. Drink only chlorinated water
6. Wash hands after handling pets

Escherichia coli – (E-coli)
Harmless strains can be found widely in nature, including the intestinal tract of humans & warm blood animals. However, disease causing strains are a frequent cause of intestinal /urinary /genital tract infections. E – coli and its toxins can be found in:
Undercooked or raw hamburgers
Alfalfa sprouts
Un-pasteurized milk, apple juice, apple cider
Contaminated well-water
Should you become infected with this foodborne illness, you may develop one or more of the following:

Severe abdominal cramps.
Nausea / vomiting.
Watery or possibly bloody stool.

To reduce the chances of getting ill remember these preventive tips:

1. Eat only completely cooked beef.
2. Wash all fruits and vegetables before cooking them.
3. Drink only pasteurized milk, juice.

Salmonellosis / Salmonella
Is an infection caused by the salmonella bacteria. Salmonella.  Typitimurium and Salmonella Entenitidis are the two most common forms found in the U.S. approximately 40,000 cases are reported in the U.S. each year.

Salmonella can be found in:
Raw poultry / beef / eggs.
Unwashed fruit.
Pets particularly reptiles, snakes, lizards, turtles.
Should you become infected with Salmonella poisoning you may experience one or more of the following.

Abdominal cramps.

To reduce the chance of contracting salmonella poisoning remember to:

1. Make sure eggs and poultry are fully cooked
2. Don’t eat foods containing raw eggs
3. Wash all food prep areas with hot water and soap
4. Keep eggs refrigerated
5. Wash hands after handling food or pets

Shigellosis / Bacillary Dysentery
Infectious disease caused by shigella bacteriathere. There are approximately 400,000 cases in the U.S. every year.  This bacteria, can be found in:

Drinking or swimming in contaminated water
Eating food that was contaminated by flies
Food grown in fields where there is sewage
Food handlers who don’t wash their hands after using the restroom.

If you are infected with this disease you may exhibit the following symptoms:

Nausea / vomiting
Watery stool
Abdominal pain

To reduce the chances of possible infection remember to:

1. Wash your hands before preparing food.
2. Wash your hands after using the rest room.
3. Avoid swallowing swimming pool water.
4. Teach children proper hygiene habits (washing their hands after using the rest room).

If you should become ill call 911, follow the instructions from the operator and await trained professional medical assistance.