Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

Protect Yourself from Foodborne Illness

Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

Protect Yourself from Foodborne Illness

Article excerpt

Protect Yourself From Foodborne Illness

"I've never become sick from food before - and because I've many more serious things to think about, I don't need to think about food safety in this modern day and age." Are people correct who say this?

Wrong. You should be concerned. This is especially true if you belong to one of the major groups at risk from foodborne illness. Included are senior citizens, individuals with AIDS, cancer or diabetes. Young children and the unborn are also vulnerable. In other words, those with weakened or underdeveloped immune systems are particularly susceptible, according to the Food and Inspection Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

How do you recognize foodborne illness? Generally, it's characterized by upset stomach, nausea and diarrhea, beginning within a few hours to a day after eating. In its April 1990 booklet, entitled Is Someone You Know at Risk for Foodborne Illness?, USDA advises:

"If you think you might have an illness caused by foodborne bacteria, contact your doctor, because the consequences of foodborne illness can be serious for people with weakened immunity."

All of us, however, would do well to protect ourselves from foodborne illness. For example, USDA advises "Never eat raw meat, poultry or seafood such as steak tartare (a raw hamburger dish), raw oysters or clams."

In this framework, it might surprise many Americans who consume oysters at "raw bars" that such shell fish alone contains a number of harmful organisms, including the particularly deadly bacteria, Vibrio vulnificus. …

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