As temperatures rise, typical of the summer months, the percentage of food poisoning also increases, very often linked to the consumption of cold dishes and poor storage and hygiene of the products. In this regard, the ADI – Italian Association of Dietetics and Clinical Nutrition recalls some rules to be observed in order not to incur disease and intoxication due to the consumption of foods containing toxic substances or bacteria, as in the recent case of food poisoning which led to the death of a child in Sharm El Sheik.
Killer bacteria? Here are 8 steps to avoiding fresh food poisoning
“Diseases due to contaminated food are perhaps one of the most widespread public health problems in the contemporary world – he declares Barbara Paolini, president of the Tuscany section of ADI, the Italian Association of Dietetics and Clinical Nutrition – It is estimated that every year, in industrialized countries alone, 30% of the population is affected by food poisoning, with about 360,000 cases of complaints and 30,000 interventions for infections and food poisoning. Today there are more than 250 food poisons in the world that manifest themselves with different symptoms and caused by different pathogens that increase over the years “.
“The system most involved in food poisoning is the gastrointestinal system with symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps and diarrhea that occur in a relatively short period of time from hours to days – he explains. Carmela Bagnato, ADI secretary – In the case of ingestion of contaminated food, the first part of the gastrointestinal tract is usually affected and the symptoms manifest themselves in a shorter time. In the case of toxic infections caused by microorganisms that tend to spread also in the blood system, incubation times can be longer, the most frequent symptoms are diarrhea, fever and chills. However, there are cases in which the symptoms affect other body systems and the course of the disease is very different “.
Food poisoning on vacation, a handbook to “save yourself”
by SIMONE VALESINI
The rules to follow
According to ADI experts, the basic rules for avoiding food poisoning are:
HYGIENE – Sanitize the places where products and kitchen utensils are stored such as cutlery, cutting boards, plates and containers. Wash your hands thoroughly after handling purchased fruit and vegetables or handling different types of food. Change hand towels frequently.
THE FRIDGE – Placing the groceries correctly and in the appropriate shelf of the fridge is the basis for good conservation. Use glass containers or the vacuum to store leftovers, never leave them in the cooking pans. Never put hot or lukewarm food in the fridge because they cause an increase in the internal temperature. Carefully clean the surfaces using water and vinegar (or sodium bicarbonate) or alternatively appropriate non-abrasive and foam-free detergents, in order to facilitate rinsing.
FRUIT AND VEGETABLES – Always wash fruit and vegetables before consumption, preferably with a teaspoon of baking soda leaving them in water for 15 minutes. After washing it is important not to refrigerate the products, as they could develop pathogenic bacteria that contaminate the rest of the food in the fridge. If you buy vegetables in bags, always wash them even if the package indicates that it is not necessary. Fruits and vegetables should be placed in the drawers at the bottom and in the special containers and not left free or in contact with other foods.
MEAT – It should be stored in food bags on low shelves, above the vegetable drawers, it should not be cleaned under water. Depending on the type of cut and composition: it must be consumed within 24 hours if minced, within 48 hours if chicken or turkey, within 3 days in the case of unwrapped cold cuts and fresh meat in general.
THE FISH – Clean and gutted, it must be washed under running water; well dried, stored in an airtight container or covered with a film and stored in the lower part of the refrigerator. It must be consumed within 24 hours.
DAIRY PRODUCTS AND EGGS – They should not be left free in the fridge, but kept in special sealed containers and placed in the central shelf of the fridge. In the case of eggs, it is necessary to avoid keeping them in the egg holder of the door, due to thermal changes due to opening and closing.
THE FREZEER – For optimal freezing it is advisable to portion the food (meat and fish) by wrapping it in cling film or in a food bag or in resistant containers. Defrosting must always take place in the refrigerator, never at room temperature.
THE LABEL – Always read the label and expiration date when shopping, placing foods with close expiry in front in the foreground both in the pantry and in the refrigerator to be consumed first.
COOKING – To ensure the elimination of spores from food it is necessary to raise the temperature above 120 ° C.
In case of intoxication it is important to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration related to vomiting, possibly supplement with electrolytes, avoid too large meals or heavy processed foods, if symptoms persist contact a doctor.