Symptoms of food poisoning vary depending on the specific type of food poisoning, the amount of bad food ingested, age, medical history and other factors.
With most bacterial infections symptoms of food poisoning usually develop within 12 and 48 hours. Symptoms vary considerably according to how badly the food was contaminated, but usually include,
• Muscle weakness
• Stomach pain
• Blurred vision
• Dilated pupils
Food poisoning can occur in any age group or population but the people most at risk for serious complications include the elderly, pregnant women, infants, children, and people who have weak immune systems.
Campylobacter is the most common cause of food poisoning with Salmonella as close second.
It has been found mainly in poultry, red meat, unpasteurised milk and untreated water.
Although it doesn’t grow in food it spreads easily, so only a few bacteria in a piece of undercooked chicken could cause you to become sick. Most people get the bug from poorly cooked BBQ meat or from ready to eat foods, which have been in contact with raw meats.
Food poisoning can range from mild to severe, but most can be prevented. Do you know how?
Food preparation and how to avoid food poisoning:
On the Fab Weight Loss Diet you will be preparing and cooking most of your meals yourself. So here are some tips I’ve noted just to make sure you do so safely.
1. BBQ marinade should not be used on cooked food; whether or not they have been stored in the fridge. Once the marinade has been used on raw meat it should be thrown out. Bacteria from the raw meat will be in marinade and contaminate the cooked food.
2. Around 500 people in the UK die from food poisoning every year. 90,000 cases of food poisoning are reported each year. However, estimates suggest that the actual number of people who get food poisoning may be 10 times this.
3. BBQ meat is safe to eat when, none of the meat is pink the juices run clear and it’s steaming hot throughout. It’s very easy to under cook meat on the BBQ. Food poisoning bugs such as campylobacter, salmonella and E. coli 0157 can be transmitted by raw and uncooked meat.
4. The best temperature inside a fridge is 0-5c, temperature above that allows food poisoning bacteria to multiply.
5. Leftovers should be left out no more than 2 hours at room temperature and no more than 1 hour in hot weather, if you want to avoid food poisoning.
6. The best way to thaw food is in the bottom of the fridge. Food should be thawed slowly. Other methods such as putting it on the window sill or running under hot or cold water cause uneven thawing and even encourage any bacteria present in the food to multiply.
7. Raw meat should be stored in a sealed container. Food poisoning bacteria from the raw meat can easily spread to other ready to eat foods. Especially cheese. The cheese should also be covered.
8. Raw meat should be stored in the bottom shelf of the fridge, in a separate container, which is covered to prevent the spread of food poisoning. Being in the bottom of the fridge prevents any juices from dripping on ready to eat food below.
9. A roast leg of lamb can be eaten rare; steaks and solid roasts are the only meats that can be eaten when pink inside. With rolled minced or mixed meats such as sausages, food poisoning bacteria will have had plenty of time to get into the middle of the food, and so they need to be cooked thoroughly to kill them.
10. It doesn’t matter whether your chopping board is wood or plastic, what matters is keeping it clean and avoiding the spread of germs between foods. Use a different chopping board for raw and ready to-eat-foods.
If you do experience symptoms of food poisoning consult your doctor straight away.
11. Food poisoning bacteria grow between 5-63c, although they multiply fastest at 37c. Freezing food does not kill them and some can survive in conditions without air, they grow much faster in the warmth.
12. It’s very hard to tell when food may cause symptoms of food poisoning, because it looks, taste and smells normal that’s why so many people fall ill each year.
13. You should never eat food that has past their ‘Use By Date’ this is the date before you can safely eat the food. ‘Best Before’ is the date you should eat it to ensure the food is at its highest quality. ‘Sell By Date’ is the date the shop staff should remove the food from the shelves.
14. Once frozen food begins to thaw, food poisoning bacteria start to multiply. Re-freezing food that has been thawed means there may be more bacteria in the food than before.
15. We should wash our hands for 20 seconds, and dry them for same amount of time. Wet hands are more effective at spreading bacteria than dry ones.
16. Keeping food equipment and the kitchen clean, fresh foods chilled, cooking at the correct temperature and avoiding cross contamination between raw meat and ready to eat food is the best way to prevent food poisoning.
17. Before handling meat, be sure to have everything you need to prepare and cook the food ready. After all preparations and during try to use disposable paper for drying hands, also use some kind of disinfectant to wash the sink, used utensils and work surfaces.