Think everything is better with gravy? You may want to reconsider. Thanksgiving is coming up, and Yuletide is around the corner. Many community members will be attending dinners and potlucks to celebrate the holidays. Often marked by eating traditional foods like turkey, mashed potatoes with gravy, figgy puddings, and roasts in celebration.
The number of food recalls this year has some people questioning the safety of our food supply and wondering if there is more we can do to protect ourselves from food borne illness. Food borne illness and infections, commonly called food poisoning, are caused by bacteria, parasites, viruses, or other toxins in foods. Contaminants like Clostridium perfringens found in beef or poultry (especially large roasts), gravy, or precooked foods can cause diarrhea and stomach cramps. Or Salmonella and Campylobacter which are both known to contaminate poultry cause diarrhea and fever.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified over 250 different types of food borne illnesses, which they estimate sicken 48 million people, and kill 3000 people in the United States each year (CDC.gov).
Remain Vigilant When it Comes to Holiday Food Preparation
The Buffalo Trace District Health Department urges community members to remain vigilant when it comes to food preparation. This is because, according to the CDC, the incidence of transmitted infections in food “has remained largely unchanged for many years” said Griffin Marder to MMWR (CDC). New technologies, including better detection methods, tracking, and reporting, are making it easier to identify pathogens, resulting in higher incidence rates of contaminated food items.
Additionally, increases in imported produce and seafood contribute to the growing number of outbreaks (Gould & Colleagues, Emerging Infectious Diseases). Gould and colleagues determined that a total of 195 cases of food borne outbreaks identified between 1996 and 2016 were caused by imported foods. The greatest percentage of outbreaks were caused by contaminated fish or seafood (55%) followed by produce (33%). Foods from Latin America (especially Mexico), the Caribbean, and Asia were most frequently implicated.
*Original article “How to Help Protect Patients from Foodborne Illness” found at the following: https://www.consultant360.com/exclusive/nutrition411/how-help-protect-patients-foodborne-illness