Food poisoning: Where to expect trouble?

Food poisoning – common, but, nevertheless, unpleasant, and sometimes deadly problems. Infected with harmful microbes, people may not show any symptoms, or the symptoms can range from mild discomfort in the abdomen to severe dehydration and diarrhea with blood.

Why should we wait for trouble and how to protect ourselves and our family?


Raw fruits and vegetables

Listeria bacteria can infect fresh vegetables and fruits, for example melons, causing fever, muscle pains, upset stomach and diarrhea – 2 days or 2 months after infection.

How to protect: Wash thoroughly, and then dry the fresh vegetables and fruits before they are cut. Store them in the refrigerator at +5 ° C or lower. Wash everything that comes in contact with melon!

Unpasteurized dairy products

The products made by their fresh unpasteurized milk, including yogurt and soft cheeses such as brie, feta and Mexican coco, can contain listeria bacteria. Since listeria can survive at low temperatures, simply keeping the product in the refrigerator will not kill it. The most vulnerable to listeria are the elderly, pregnant women and people with weakened immunity.

How to protect: Check the labels. Make sure the product is pasteurized.

Sausages, slicing, hot dogs

Sometimes listeria can penetrate the meat processing plant and live there for years. High temperatures kill listeria, but contamination can occur after the process of heat treatment of the product and before its packaging. For example, if the finished product was placed on the same surface where raw meat lay before.

How to protect: Never eat ready-made meat products after the expiry date of their expiration date, not specified in the packaging. Heat hot dogs and meat cuts to + 75 ° C before eating them.

Food poisoning
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Chicken and eggs

Salmonella bacteria do not disdain any type of food, but the greatest risk of infection is due to products of animal origin due to possible contact with animal excrement. In chickens, egg contamination can occur even before the shell is formed, so even fresh, clean eggs can be contaminated with salmonella. Symptoms of infection in humans include cramping in the abdomen, fever and diarrhea 12-72 hours after contact with the bacterium. The disease can last 4-7 days.

How to protect: Never eat raw or poorly cooked eggs. The internal temperature of chicken meat during cooking should reach + 75C. Do not let raw chicken come in contact with cooked chicken and other products. Wash your hands, cutting boards, kitchen accessories and work surfaces after contact with a raw chicken.

Raw fruits and vegetables

Fresh vegetables and fruits almost ceased to yield to chicken in terms of the prevalence of salmonella. Epidemics of infection are associated with tomatoes, hot peppers, leafy vegetables and papaya. Sprouts can also contain salmonella due to growing in warm and humid conditions – and they are often eaten raw or poorly processed. Salmonella infection can be dangerous and even fatal for infants and elderly people with fragile health.

How to protect: Wash thoroughly, and then dry the fresh vegetables and fruits before they are cut. Store them in the refrigerator at +5 ° C or lower.

Processed products

Chips, crackers, soups, peanut butter and even frozen ready-made products may pose a threat of infection with salmonella. The study of epidemics of salmonellosis led scientists to peanut butter and packaged products made using peanuts, for example, bars of their granola and biscuits. Infection is most likely to occur at the plant during the preparation of the product. In this case, this will be followed by a recall of the party from the stores.

How to protect: Never eat foods from a recalled party: immediately return the product back to the store or throw it away. Heating products to + 75C destroys Salmonella.

Raw meat

Raw meat, especially minced meat, has a risk of infection with salmonella. The cause of several epidemics was minced meat from turkey. At the sight and smell, it is impossible to determine the presence of this bacterium.

How to protect: Prepare beef, pork and lamb at least until reaching + 65C. Minced meat from this meat must be heated to + 75C, the same applies to poultry meat and minced meat. To avoid contamination of other products, wash your hands thoroughly and all surfaces touching the meat with water and soap.

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E. Coli

Chopped meat

The E. coli lives in the intestines of cattle and can infect animal meat during slaughter. Minced meat is a particular danger, since a bacterium can infect it during grinding. Symptoms of infection with E. coli include acute stomach cramps, fluid diarrhea, and vomiting. As a rule, the disease develops within a few days after contact with the infected product and can be dangerous for people with weakened immunity. The disease can last a week.

How to protect: Thoroughly cook meat (at least to + 70C and completely disappear pink color in the middle). Wash with soap all surfaces and kitchen accessories that come in contact with raw meat.

Raw juice and milk

Pasteurization uses high temperatures to kill bacteria. Since most of the juices that you can buy at the store are pasteurized, there is no risk of infection from them. However, unpasteurized juices sold on farms, in markets and in health food stores, may contain an E. coli. The bacterium can also penetrate into raw milk through unwashed devices, infected and contaminated with animal excrement.

How to protect: Buy only pasteurized foods. If you are not sure, boil them yourself.

Fresh vegetables and fruits

Flowers and fruits can be infected with E. coli through fertilizers or irrigation. In the group of special risk – leafy vegetables. Nevertheless, producers are doing everything possible to minimize risks, and experts believe that the benefits of vegetables and fruits far exceed the risk of food poisoning.

How to protect: Flush each leaf of leafy vegetables and cook vegetables to kill the bacteria.


Canned food

Botulism is a rare but potentially fatal disease, which can be infected by eating canned foods. Especially dangerous are preserves of own preparation, and also honey, smoked meat products, fermented, smoked and salted fish. In the group of special risk are small children. Symptoms of botulism include spasms, vomiting, shortness of breath and swallowing, double vision, weakness and paralysis. If you suspect botulism, call the rescue immediately.

How to protect: Never give honey to children under 12 months of age. Throw away the swollen cans, leaking cans or foul-smelling canned foods – or if you open the jar, the liquid sprays. Sterilize homemade preparations, cooking them at 120 ° C for at least 30 minutes.

Clostridium Perfringens

Meat, stews and gravies

Clostridium Perfringens is a type of bacterium that causes spasms and diarrhea lasting less than 24 hours. Gravies, stews and some other products, prepared in large volumes and kept for long periods at room temperature – often become the habitat of Clostridium Perfringens.

How to protect: Sauces, sauces and stews should be carefully prepared and served hot, they should be stored either at a temperature above + 60 ° C or below + 5 ° C.

Staphylococcus aureus

Sandwiches, salads, pastries

Yes, it is possible to become infected with staphylococcus through food – when it is prepared by an infected person. Special risk is enjoyed by sandwiches, salads, pastries with cream and puddings. Symptoms appear quickly enough, even after 30 minutes, and include vomiting, spasms and diarrhea. The disease lasts from one to three days.

How to protect yourself: Wash your hands thoroughly before preparing food. Do not cook if you are sick or have a runny nose or eye infection, there is a wound or infection on your hands or wrists.


Not enough cooked bird

Just one drop of raw chicken can threaten infection with Campylobacter – a little-known disease, which, however, is the second most common cause of food poisoning in the US. Symptoms include fever, spasms, diarrhea and vomiting. Most people recover within a week, but this disease can lead to Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare and dangerous disease. Guillain-Barre syndrome develops a few weeks after the illness, accompanied by diarrhea, and can cause temporary paralysis.

How to protect: Avoid cross contamination of kitchen accessories and work surfaces by washing with water and soap after contact with a raw chicken.


Food that touched the sick person

Noroviruses are the main culprits of what we call “gastric flu”. They lead to vomiting and diarrhea, and usually last 24-48 hours. Norovirus can be infected through food that was touched by a sick person who did not wash after visiting the restroom. In the group of dangerous dishes: fresh salads and raw oysters, because they do not undergo heat treatment.

How to protect: Always wash your hands in hot soapy water for at least 30 seconds after visiting the lavatory, changing diapers for a child or preparing food.

Vibrio Vulnificus

Raw oysters

Vibrio Vulnificus is a bacterium that lives in warm seawater and is capable of infecting mollusks, especially oysters. Infection with her leads to the same abnormalities of the digestive tract as other cases of food poisoning, but people with impaired immunity can also develop a life-threatening blood infection.

How to protect: Eat only cooked shellfish. Frying, baking, cooking and steaming reduce the risk of infection. Throw away all shellfish, whose shells do not open during cooking.