How easy is it to suffer from food poisoning? The risk can become present in a prepared food environment in less than an hour. Cooked meat starts to build up toxic bacteria after 20 minutes once it has dropped below 140 degrees internal temperature. Dairy products go bad at room temperature within an hour or so. Vegetables and fruit might have already been contaminated well before being served if they were never washed properly before being handled in the kitchen. Water easily carries bacteria and pathogens, being probably the number one cause of dysentery in the world when not filtered properly. In short, food poisoning is common, prevalent, and a regular risk.
Common Sense Dates Back to Early Times
The most effective ways to prevent food contamination involve safe kitchen practices that date back to ancient times. That includes washing hands regularly, cooking food thoroughly and keeping it hot until served, not leaving food out to sit for extended periods of time, and refrigerating leftovers on ice or cold to prevent spoilage. Granted, refrigerators didn’t show up until the 20th century, but there’s no excuse today for food going bad.
Symptoms are Mild Unless You’re the Unlucky Person
However, time and time again, people continue to get sick from food that hasn’t been handled properly, stored properly, or served with food safety in mind. For the large majority of folks, the result is usually a bad day or two of indigestion, cramping, rehydration with water, and some bland food for a bit until one’s stomach regains its strength. That said, for an unfortunately small minority, food poisoning can and is a real health threat. It can result in hospitalization, long-term or permanent injuries like nerve damage or irritable bowel syndrome, and even mortality in extreme cases.
Anyone Can Get Food Poisoning
Food poisoning can affect anyone too; it does not discriminate. And, related to the above, those with weaker immune systems tend to suffer more from its symptoms. Small children are particularly prone to dehydration due to rapid vomiting and diarrhea and not having the knowledge to drink water fast enough to replace lost fluids. Seniors and chronically ill patients who already have weakened systems oftentimes suffer critical organ failure quickly because of food poisoning, being unable to fend off the cause fast enough before it starts causing serious damage. While these numbers are low, they still represent a significant number of lives changed negatively thanks to mostly preventable food risks.
If you’ve been exposed to bad food, it is frequently preventable, which means someone failed to follow protocols and rules for keeping prepared food safe. While many assume that it’s just bad luck, for a few ending up in the hospital can be tortuous. In these cases, a food safety attorney is needed to help with recovery support and hold the food provider responsible for not following the required health rules. Even big food companies can be held accountable using the court and legal system. Don’t suffer alone or believe you can’t get help after a food sickness incident.
Meg is an author at Cinnamon Hollow. She writes on a variety of topics sharing tips and ideas for daily life.