SEPTEMBER 6, 2022
Whether you call it “foodborne illness” or “food poisoning” illnesses often occur when bacteria, viruses, or other microorganisms grow on food that is not handled, stored, or prepared properly. September is Food Safety Awareness Month and McLean County Health Department (MCHD) hopes to spread awareness through public education.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are more than 250 different foodborne diseases, with most being caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites. Some of the most common foodborne pathogens include Norovirus, Salmonella, Clostridium Perfringens, Campylobacter, and Staphylococcus Aureus (Staph).
“Many people believe that the last thing they ate is what made them sick. But in reality, the onset of symptoms varies depending on the pathogen,” said Linda Foutch, Environmental Health Program Supervisor. “For example, Staph symptoms begin 1-8 hours after ingestion, whereas Salmonella symptoms can begin 18-36 hours after ingestion.”
According to MCHD Environmental Health Division, two very common reasons for foodborne illnesses are: not properly washing hands after going to the bathroom; and handling unclean cell phones or tablets.
There are four basic steps everyone should follow when it comes to handling food: (1) Clean; (2) Separate; (3) Cook; (4) and Chill.
Cross-contamination often occurs when bacteria or other microorganisms are unintentionally transferred from one food substance or object to another.
For more information and links, visit the MCHD website at https://health.mcleancountyil.gov/493/Food-Safety-Information-Links