Foodborne illness is becoming more common and more dangerous in the U.S. and in the rest of the world. The mass food production required to feed the more than 7 billion people on the planet cannot be monitored closely enough to warrant safe food processing.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that approximately 48 million people in the U.S. alone are infected each year with various foodborne illnesses. That number does not account for those cases unreported, and many people attributing their sickness to the flu.
The numbers of pathogens and allergens, bacteria and viruses are so vast, the CDC has grouped them into: Known Foodborne Pathogens, and Unspecified Agents.
The CDC describes the known pathogens that are most prevalent in the U.S. and are causing the biggest problems in human health, below:
Norovirus is a highly contagious virus that spreads just by touching a surface an infected person touched. It attacks the intestinal system causing stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting.
Salmonella is a bacterial infection that causes diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness can last 4 to 7 days and can be severe enough to cause hospitalization.
Clostridium perfringens is a bacteria that is commonly found on raw meat and poultry. It can cause a toxin in the intestine causing illness and is the most common cause of foodborne illness in the United States.
Staphylococcal – although this is a common bacteria found in healthy people, once it has been transmitted to food, it can create toxins and create food poisoning.
Toxoplasmosisis considered to be a leading cause of death attributed to foodborne illness in the United States.
E.coli is a large group of bacteria, some harmless, others can make you very sick. Symptoms such as diarrhea, urinary tract infection, respiratory illness and pneumonia can be attributed to E.coli.
Listeria is a serious infection caused by eating food tainted with the bacterium. It is a serious health problem in the U.S. causing fever, muscle aches, gastrointestinal problems, and diarrhea.
The CDC advises food preparers to be extremely careful with uncooked food, to be sure to clean and separate it from other foods. Refrigerate foods not being used and after food is cooked – and wash hands, surfaces and all utensils after use when preparing raw meat.
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