Food poisoning is an acute form of gastroenteritis caused by ingesting a food or beverage containing a pathogenic microorganism or its poisons or poisonous chemicals.
Food poisoning is prevalent in hostels, hotels, community meals, and celebrations.
A group of individuals will exhibit identical symptoms and report consuming a similar meal during the last several hours.
Types of food poisoning
1) Bacterial food poisoning:
Here, microorganisms known as bacteria are accountable.
The pathogenic bacteria or their toxins may be present in the food material, which will be consumed together with the meal.
2) Food poisoning caused by substances other than bacteria:
Due to the presence of harmful compounds such as insecticides, fertilizers, heavy metals, etc.
As bacterial food poisoning is a prevalent condition, it will be covered here.
Bacterial food poisoning:
Not all germs are dangerous.
Some pathogenic microorganisms exude toxins that result in clinical symptoms.
These microorganisms enter the human body via ingested foods and beverages.
What causes food poisoning:
1) The presence of microorganisms in water.
2) The food’s ingredients could include poisons.
3) The location where food is made may harbor microorganisms or poisons.
4) Food workers could carry contagious infections.
5) Dogs and rodents may contaminate the food supply.
6) There is a possibility of food poisoning if food is stored at room temperature for a long period and then heated again.
7) Someone mixes poisons on purpose into meals.
Common bacterial causes of food poisoning.
1) Salmonella food poisoning:
There are three unique types of salmonella bacterium.
(salmonella typhimurium,salmonella choleraesuis,salmonella enteritidis) These bacteria are prevalent in milk, milk products and eggs. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are the symptoms of this food poisoning. Also prevalent is fever.
Clostridium botulinum causes this deadly form of food poisoning. The spores of these microorganisms are found in the soil and enter the human body via pickles, canned fish, etc. Vomiting and diarrhea are uncommon compared to other food poisonings. Specifically, the nervous system is impacted. The first symptoms include double vision, tingling, and weakness. Subsequently, paralysis, cardiac and respiratory collapse, and death will ensue.
3) Food poisoning due to Staphylococcus:
Staphylococcus aureus is the causative agent. Typically, these organisms cause skin issues including boils and rashes. It results in mastitis in cows. It spreads and causes gastroenteritis via milk and milk products. Vomiting, stomach pains, and diarrhea will occur.
4) Food poisoning due to Clostridium:
Clostridium perfringens causes this condition.
These organisms exist in feces, soil, and water. They enter the body through meat, animal-based foods, eggs, etc. This food poisoning may occur if food is prepared, stored at room temperature for an extended period of time, then reheated before consumption. The symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pains.
5) Bacillus cereus:
These organisms’ spores are capable of withstanding heat and induce enteritis. This illness often causes vomiting and diarrhea.
How can food poisoning be investigated?
1) Examine every single afflicted individual.
2) A sample of water must be analyzed.
3) The kitchen, the storage area, and food samples should be investigated.
4) The chef and others who handle food should be questioned and inspected.
5) All sufferers’ vomitus and feces samples should be analyzed for the presence of the bacterium.
How to avoid getting food poisoning:
1) Only filtered water should be used.
2) Everyone who comes into touch with food must practise proper hygiene.
3) During cooking and serving, workers must wear masks, caps, and gloves.
4) Sick people should not come into touch with food products.
5) The kitchen and surrounding area must be spotless.
5) Vessels need to be cleansed with soap and hot water.
The cooked meal should not be kept at room temperature for an extended period of time.
7) All food must be stored in containers with tight-fitting lids.
8) Animals such as the dog, cat, rat, etc., should not come into contact with food ingredients.
9) Prior to cooking, vegetables must be washed.
10) Meat should be acquired from a reputable slaughterhouse and be of the highest quality.