Scientists Warn Against Food Borne Illnesses

by Medindia Content Team on  July 24, 2005 at 1:37 PM General Health News   - G J E 4
Scientists Warn Against Food Borne Illnesses
Researchers at the Institute of Food Technologists annual meeting in US have warned the general people against taking food borne illnesses casually and had said that these are illnesses that can threaten the health of the nation, if not taken enough precaution against them.

The studies presented at the meeting said that often people are unaware of the risks involved in having food borne illnesses. A healthy adult is less likely to contract a food borne illness than a young child or an aging grandparent. And a pregnant woman, her fetus, and people battling disease are especially sensitive to illnesses that can be transmitted by food.

Scientists refer to the people in these groups as YOPI—the very young, the very old, pregnant women, and people with suppressed immune systems from HIV, diabetes, and other conditions. Their natural internal defenses against food borne illness are not as well armed as a health adult.

Many common food-safety practices—such as avoiding alfalfa sprouts and heating deli meat before eating it—are among the official government recommendations for the YPOI. But "People just don't know these recommendations exist," said Joyce Gordon, a professor at Kansas State University.

Gordon also found that the location where the buy food, such as a farmer's market versus a retail store, can make them discount common safety practices in handling and cooking food.

Gerd Bobe, with the National Food Safety and Toxicology Center, cited the way food-safety messages are expressed is critical after conducting a survey of Michigan consumers who had bought refrigerated juice in the past year.

He found that 72 percent of those surveyed correctly identified that "pasteurized juice will have less risk of pathogens." However, he reported that barely more than half realize that "unpasteurized juice may have more risk of pathogens."

"Many people thought that unpasteurized means organic or natural," he said. It does not. Bobe recommends that proper food handling be taught as early as kindergarten and future food safety information be quantitative to help identify the relative risk of, say, a senior eating cold deli meat. However, other panelists noted that such specific statements of risks could be difficult to determine.

Another survey found that older Americans confidence is the food supply, could lead to complacency that's risky when handling food is concerned.

"The older you get, the less likely you are to think food borne illnesses common," interpreted Toby Ten Eyck, a sociologist at Michigan State University. "People think, 'I've eaten a lot of meals (over time) and I'm okay.'"

Food scientists urge consumers to practice the four Fight Back principals:

Clean—Wash hands and surfaces, and rinse fresh produce Separate—Keep meat, seafood and poultry separate from other foods

Cook—Use a thermometer to ensure food is fully cooked Chill—Store foods below 40 degrees

Source: Newswise

Medindia on food borne illnesses- further information

Food-borne illnesses: This is the major cause of whole lot of infections in adults and children. 3% of the illnesses of such origin often result in long term secondary health problems., like strains of E. coli bacteria, Salmonella, Listeria, and Campylobacter bacteria are all known to cause major damages to health at times.

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