Different types of Food Poisoning and refrigeration prevention

How does refrigeration affect food poisoning?

There are many types of illnesses which can be directly attributed to neglect in cold storage:

refrigeration diseaseSalmonellae: Salmonellae are bacteria that may cause food poisoning and if so the illness is commonly known as Salmonella or Salmonella infection. The illness is transmitted by undercooked foods such as eggs, poultry, dairy products, and seafood. The Centre for disease control estimates that each year 1 million people are infected with Salmonella. Salmonella cause a moderate illness with nausea, vomiting, crampy diarrhoea, and headache, which may come back a few weeks later as arthritis (joint pains). In people with impaired immune systems (such as people with kidney disease, HIV/AIDS, or those receiving chemotherapy for cancer), Salmonellae can cause a life-threatening illness. 

Campylobacter: Symptoms of this include mild  fever, watery diarrhoea, headache, and muscle aches. Campylobacter is the most commonly identified food-borne bacterial infection encountered in the world. It is passed through raw poultry (never eat raw chicken and always ensure it is cooked properly), raw milk (unpasteurised milk can be very dangerous to consume), and water contaminated by animal faeces. If you are unsure of the quality of your water source - always boil first

Staphylococcus aureus: Causes moderate to severe illness with rapid onset of nausea, severe vomiting, dizziness, and abdominal cramping. These bacteria produce a toxin in foods such as cream-filled cakes and pies, salads (most at risk are potato, macaroni, egg, and tuna salads, for example) and dairy products. Contaminated salads at picnics are the most likely source of this if the food is not chilled properly. Therefore ensure salad foodstuffs are chilled properly using adequate temperature controlled storage units.

Bacillus cereus: Causes mild illness with rapid onset of vomiting, with or without diarrhoea and abdominal cramping. It is associated with rice (mainly fried rice) and other starchy foods such as pasta or potatoes. Currently military thinking is that Bacillus Cereus could also be used as an effective terrorist weapon.  

Prevention of basic food poisoning can usually be achieved by adhering to some basic principles. These include hand washing and effective food storage. Good working refrigeration units and ensuring that the refrigeration units are not over stuffed so that the cold air can circulate effectively around the unit will help to store food stuffs and not transmit bacteria and viruses. 

For more information about refrigeration units and the prevention of these diseases, visit CRS Ireland, cold storage specialists.

Published on 21/09/2011

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