Food poisoning occurs when we eat food that has gone bad and is infected by bacteria. Although many types of bacteria are harmless, some are definitely harmful and cause diseases.
These disease-producing bacteria multiply rapidly in favorable conditions and cause food poisoning.
There are various groups of disease-producing or pathogenic bacteria which may be found both inside and on the surface of the body; they may be transferred to food by people who handle it if precautions are not taken. Such infection may be spread during food manufacture and during preparation and cooking.
The measures to lessen the dangers of food poisoning are:
1. In the home
The rules of kitchen hygiene should be observed at all times
2. In the shops
a. Buy from the shops that are clean and well ventilated.
b. Buy from shops where sale is brisk and avoid buying goods that have been in stock for a long time.
c. Inspect tinned foods carefully for dents, bulges and rust. Avoid blown tins-this indicates the presence of botulism bacteria. Serious food poisoning may occur if such food is eaten.
d. Make sure there are no holes in packets containing foods except for foods that require circulation of air.
e. Buy frozen foods where the freezer is in good working order. Frozen foods should not be re-frozen when once they have thawed.
3. In the market
a. Buy from clean stalls. Food containers for selling should be clean, e.g. oil bottles and tins
b. Avoid buying fresh and perishable or cooked foods that are left uncovered. These make very good breeding grounds for disease-producing bacteria.
c. Foods that do not need washing before cooking should be clean, e.g. sugar, salt, cooking fats, doughs, flours.
d. Select foods carefully before buying. Fresh vegetables should be carefully chosen.