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Describe in detail 10 common factors which contribute to food poisoning

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Introduction

Angela Clucas - Human Nutrition HND Food Safety: Law Assignment Describe in detail 10 common factors which contribute to food poisoning Food poisoning can be defined as: "An acute (arising suddenly and of short duration) gastroenteritis caused by the ingestion of food." - www.food.gov.uk Food poisoning is characterized by the following symptoms: * Abdominal Pain * Diarrhoea * With or without vomiting * With or without fever Major problems with food poisoning occur in the very young, the very elderly and those with otherwise reduced immunological defences. The major problem is with dehydration and loss of electrolytes and is a main cause of infant and child mortality in the developing world. Some authors exclude food-borne illness that are caused by primary human pathogens (that are adapted to the human host) from their definition of food poisoning, examples include Salmonella Typhoid and Dysentery caused by Shigella Dysenteriae. The term 'food poisoning' is reserved for those diseases produced by bacterial exotoxins, for example this would include Staphylococcus Aureus and Clostridium Perfringens but would exclude Salmonella. ...read more.

Middle

Ingestion of Raw Foods Eating raw or improperly cooked food can result in food poisoning due to viral infection. One example of this is shellfish harvested in polluted waters. Bivalve molluscs can filter and concentrate virus particles as well as bacteria in the gut, as shellfish are eaten whole the gut plus all the virus particles are ingested along with the rest of the animal. A remedy is to hold the shellfish in a tank with sterilized water using ultraviolet light to destroy any viruses although some enteric viruses may remain. Contamination of Raw Materials Contamination of raw materials with pathogens is a widespread problem contributing to food poisoning. Most wild and farm/domestic animals carry pathogenic organisms in their gut which are all transmissible to man. There are several factors which seem to make the problems worse including intensive farming where organisms are spread via the faecal-oral route, transport of animals in overcrowded conditions and the use of concentrated animal feeds that become infected with pathogens. ...read more.

Conclusion

Staff Hygiene Poor personal hygiene can contribute to food poisoning outbreaks, for example staff not washing their hands at all/effectively after using to toilet or coughing/sneezing. The natural habitat of Staphylococcus Aureus is the human nose, throat and skin so to prevent contamination anyone with cold/flu like symptoms must be excluded from the food handling or processing area. Another problem with personal hygiene is the presence of 'Carriers' working in food industry. These people are asymptomatic but still infected, most commonly with Salmonella and E-Coli. A carrier may remain infected for weeks, sometimes months. Pests Pests such as flies, cockroaches, mice, rats and birds all carry food poisoning organism. Careful effort must be made to ensure any food storage or preparation area is pest free. Methods of prevention can include rodent traps and UV fly killers. Salmonella is naturally found in the intestine of most animals, domestic or wild, including mammals, birds and insects. It is excreted in large numbers in faeces and can remain viable for years within the faecal material. ...read more.

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