Food poisoning is so common in the U.S., you may have already experienced it. Every year, foodborne illness or food poisoning affects about 48 million people. While some people recover from the illness with few complications, thousands wind up with a serious illness that can result in hospitalization or become fatal.
Food Safety explains that safer choices could reduce the risk of food poisoning.
You may suffer from a foodborne illness if you eat any food that has bacteria, toxins, viruses or parasites as contaminants. Food poisoning can have a detrimental effect on a person’s health, particularly if they are in a vulnerable group. Those more likely to encounter food poisoning include:
- Pregnant women
- Adults over 65
- Children under 5
- People with immune deficiencies
While some symptoms of food poisoning may be little more than stomach upset, fever or vomiting, it can also become serious. Serious side effects of food poisoning can result in hospitalization. Common germs associated with food poisoning include norovirus, E. coli, salmonella and botulism.
It is within your rights as a consumer to assume that the food you buy is safe for consumption. It is not your responsibility to worry about whether there are any harmful pathogens in your food. Restaurants should clean surfaces regularly, separate raw meats from ready-to-eat foods and cook food to the correct internal temperature.
If a restaurant follows a safety protocol, it can prevent foodborne illness. Restaurants have an obligation to customers to store, handle and prepare food safely. Also, restaurants should never allow sick employees to work.