Food Poisoning in the News…Again

ethan

Food recalls are so commonplace, that we almost don’t pay attention. The FDA has recently recalled products containing a potentially salmonella-tainted ingredient. The items recalled contained hydrolyzed vegetable protein. This is a flavor enhancer, much like MSG, made by Basic Food Flavors. HVP is produced by boiling cereals or legumes (such as soy, corn, or wheat) in hydrochloric acid and then neutralizing the solution with sodium hydroxide. (Doesn’t sound appetizing at all!)

Basic Food Flavors’ entire production of HVP, dating back to February 2009, has been recalled! Although food recalls are scary, most food poisoning occurs because of improperly handling food at home. So how is most food contaminated?

That’s disgusting! Ethan can’t believe that food bacteria is from poop!

Common Food Bacteria from Feces
Salmonella
Salmonella is a general name for a group of about 2,000 closely related bacteria which cause illness by reproducing in the digestive tract. Salmonella live in the intestinal tracts of animals and birds. People are usually infected by eating food that has become contaminated with infected feces.

E. Coli
When produce is contaminated with E. coli, it happens in the growing process usually with contaminated feces. In 2006, spinach was recalled because of E. coli which originated from irrigation water contaminated with animal feces. The Center for Disease Control found the probable source of the outbreak was a cattle ranch, which leased the land to a spinach farmer.

Eating organic foods can limit your exposure to pesticides and other potential contaminants in food — but E. coli may remain a concern. E coli is caused by exposure to animal waste and water contaminated with feces.

Healthy beef and dairy cattle may carry the E. coli germ in their intestines. The meat can get contaminated with the germ during the slaughtering process. When beef is ground up, the E. coli bacteria get mixed throughout the meat.

You can be infected with the E. coli germ if you don’t use a high temperature to cook your beef, or if you don’t cook it long enough. When you eat undercooked beef, the germs go into your stomach and intestines.

Prevent Food Poisoning
The easiest way to prevent food poisoning is to properly handle and cook foods.

• Wash your hands with soap and water before you begin cooking.

• Keep food refrigerated or frozen.

•Wash utensils and wooden cutting boards with hot soapy water.

• Avoid cross contamination, use separate cutting boards for meat and produce.

• Wash all produce before eating.

• Cook meat thoroughly, especially ground meat.

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