Safe to Eat

So, we’ve discussed the approval of GMO salmon, for good or bad. I’ve ranted about mandatory sodium labeling on New York City restaurant menus. Now, one final food related topic that has been in the news lately- food borne illness, also known as “food poisoning”. If you haven’t heard, there was a recent outbreak of food-borne illness at a popular national chain restaurant.

How do such things happen? As with any phenomenon in public health, the answer is really complicated. Food borne illnesses has several possible causes. Bacteria and mold can grow on food that is stored or processed incorrectly. Bacteria and viruses can be transmitted from people handling and processing food. Toxic substances (like cleaning chemicals) can be introduced during handling or processing. If just two cases of illness can be traced to the same cause it can be considered an outbreak.

What steps can you take steps to keep your DIYet safe to eat? Just look around the web for a plethora of advice. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has some great videos. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has some quick, useful bullet points. I must digress to say that I’m not sure these guidelines need to be in the section that offers information “For Women”. This information is useful to all humans, and possibly other species, also.

You can get great information on food safety and keep on top of food recalls by checking out the U.S. government’s Food Safety web site. You can even get recall alerts sent to your e-mail.

Life has no guarantees. You can do to reduce the chances of giving yourself a food borne illness, but you can never be at zero risk. That makes it even more important to do what you can. Keep things clean and at temperature. Wash you hands. Be really careful with raw meat, poultry and fish. If you do suspect you have a food borne illness, report it.  You might help stop an outbreak.