Symptoms of food poisoning
Pain, vomiting, cramping, weakness, diarrhea, dizziness. Symptoms occur quickly, 1-4 hours after eating the contaminated substance. They can last for a few hours or a few days
Salmonella symptoms: pain, vomiting, and diarrhea can require several days to appear
Staphylococcus aureus symptoms: diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting 2-6 hours after the meal. It is good to induce vomiting, to help rid the system of toxins.
Botulism symptoms: 12-48 hours after ingestion, symptoms appear. Extreme weakness, double vision, swallowing difficulty. Paralysis and death can follow.
Giardia symptoms: Constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, nausea, flatulence, and vomiting.
Causes of food poisoning
Eating food containing harmful bacteria causes food poisoning. Each year more than 2 million Americans report food poisoning. Of course, the actual number is far higher. Unfortunately, we live in a poisoned age. About 2 million Americans report food poisoning each year; of that number, 9,000 people die each year. A far greater number have food poisoning, who think it is the flu.
A full 90% of botulism cases in the United States are caused by improper home canning. The safest method is to cook the jarred food in a pressure cooker rather than in a tub on top of the stove.
Two-thirds of all food poisoning cases were related to the use of poorly cooked eggs.
The types of bacteria in food which cause disease (pathogenic) or produce toxins (toxigenic) cannot be seen, tasted, or smelled in the food.
Here are the most common of these food poisoning organisms:
This is the most common cause of food poisoning. It has especially increased since antibiotics began being placed in animal feeds, to prevent disease in crowded, unsanitary, conditions and help them grow faster. (More than 50% of cattle, poultry, and swine are now given antibiotics.) But, doing this, promoted the growth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in animal intestines. A third of all chickens in America have salmonella.
Salmonella is easily transmitted on hands, food supplies, knives, table tops, cracked eggs, partly raw food, etc. Mechanical methods of evisceration in slaughterhouses also spread Salmonella to all the other birds being slaughtered. Cooks that handle raw meat or eggs, and then handle other food—especially raw food, such as salads—endanger many people. Vegetarians should wash their hands with soap, immediately after handling raw egg shells. Cook eggs well. (Beware of mayonnaise; it contains raw eggs.) Milk and ice cream can also be contaminated with salmonella. In 1985, 17,000 people in the northeast became ill from contaminated milk.
Outbreaks of salmonella poisoning primarily occur in the warmer months. Symptoms range from mild abdominal pain to severe diarrhea, and even typhoid-like fever. This disease can so weaken the immune system that the kidneys, heart, and blood vessels are damaged. Arthritis can result.
Eating raw or poorly cooked chicken, eggs, beef, and pork products is the main way salmonella is eaten. But it can also be found in clams and oysters.
Of 35 food poisoning outbreaks reported between 1985 to 1987, 24 were caused by contaminated eggs, or foods containing them. Boil eggs for at least 25 minutes.
We will briefly note some other sources of food-borne illness:
This is said to be the second-largest source of food poisoning (25%). This can be transmitted by coughing and sneezing on food.
Clostridium botulinum: This is old-fashioned botulism. Many restaurants and roadhouses leave food set out at room temperature for hours. This can also be found in old mustard and other sauce jars. Although easily destroyed by cold or heat, botulism is the most deadly of all the food-borne diseases. It produces toxins which block nerve impulses to the muscles.
- Heating food to 176o F. for 20 minutes or 194o F.
- for 10 minutes destroys the spores. Home-canned food, not properly cooked, can be dangerous.
- Never use contents of a bulging can or a rusty can! It is found in canned vegetables, meats, fish, mushrooms, and soups.
Giardia (giardiasis): This is found in drinking water from lakes and streams. It is not destroyed by water treatment, including chlorination. It can also be found in raw food which has grown in contaminated water. Giardia grows best where it is cool and damp.
Four other sources of food poisoning should be mentioned: Staphylococcus, Campylobacter jejune, campylobacteriosis, and Clostridium perfringens.
Each of these comes primarily from eating meat, and sometimes dairy products.
Before concluding, keep in mind trichinae (Trichinella), which is found in pork. Also, beware of mold found on food; it can produce poisonous toxins. Do not eat potato sprouts; they have concentrated solanine which can cause hallucinations even after recovery.