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How to Prevent Foodborne Illness

A lot of people refer to the foodborne illness as the “stomach flu.” This disease is caused by taking in contaminated food or drinks. They often affect the gastrointestinal tract.

Some of the microbes that are known to cause foodborne illness include viruses, harmful bacteria, and other parasites. The illness may also be caused by toxic chemicals found in food or water. After one has been exposed to these microbes, it’ll take anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days (about a week) before the onset of symptoms.

It’s also worth mentioning that pathogens that bring the illness can be acquired through recreational water, coming into contact with animals, or from one infected person to another.

What are the symptoms?

Some common symptoms associated with foodborne illnesses include:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Fever and chills
  • Joint and/or backache
  • Fatigue

What foods are commonly associated with foodborne illness?

Some of the foods that are commonly associated with the foodborne illness include:

  • Raw foods got from animals such as eggs, milk, and uncooked meat
  • Raw sprouts washed using unclean water. The ideal conditions for sprouting are also suitable for growing microbes, so they’re at high risk of contamination
  • Unwashed fruits and veggies that were contaminated when manure from animal waste was used as fertilizer in the field
  • Unpasteurized fruit juices or ciders. These are contaminated if there are pathogens in the fruits used to make the beverages.
  • Any food that has been touched by an infected person. If the food isn’t cooked well, there a chance that the illness could be passed to other people.

How to prevent foodborne illness

Cleanliness is the surest way to prevent foodborne illness. A lot of people aren’t very keen when it comes to safe food handling. Food should be handled carefully during production, harvesting, and selling. After purchase, it becomes the consumer’s responsibility to make sure that the food is handled correctly and in a hygienic manner.

Everything that comes into contact with food has to be thoroughly cleaned by following these steps:

  1. Washing your hands and kitchen surfaces regularly
  2. Separating the cooked and uncooked foods to avoid cross-contamination
  3. Ensuring that the food is well-cooked
  4. Refrigerating foods at the right temperatures

Here are additional steps to take to prevent foodborne illness. Wash your hands with soap and clean running water after:

  1. Handling uncooked food and before eating
  2. Using the bathroom
  3. Changing a diaper
  4. Playing with pets
  5. Taking care of a sick person

If you have a cut on your skin, you should put on disposable gloves before handling any uncooked food. When you’re done, dispose of the gloves safely and wash your hands with soap and clean water.


Most foodborne illnesses are mild, so they don’t last very long, and their symptoms aren’t very significant. For this reason, people usually recover on their own without needing any form of treatment. However, these diseases may sometimes lead to serious complications requiring hospitalization.

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