Can Food Make Your Family Sick?Sep 28, 2022
by Shannon Martin MPH, RDN
SEPTEMBER IS FOOD SAFETY EDUCATION MONTH
Nausea, heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach, diarrhea... it's a catchy tune for a commercial, but when symptoms like these- or worse- come from a food-borne illness, things can get serious. Recent case in point: over 100 people have been hospitalized since April 2022, with signs of liver failure like itching, jaundice, abdominal pain, fatigue; many had to have their gallbladder removed. The food source of these illnesses has been found, but the FDA's investigation is ongoing.
A bad bout of food-borne illness can cause other long-lasting problems, like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), autoimmune conditions and neurological disorders. And some groups are more at risk of getting a food-borne illness, like children under the age of 5 and pregnant women.
While it may not be possible to prevent all cases of food-borne illness, families can reduce the risk by practicing good food safety habits, and teaching kids to do the same. And since September is Food Safety Education Month, take this brief test of your food safety knowledge:
TRUE or FALSE:
- If a family member feels sick right after eating a meal, most likely it's from the food they just ate.
- The "danger zone", when bacteria can multiply rapidly in food, is between 40-140 degrees F
- Food-borne illness is more common in the summer.
- It's safe to eat raw cookie dough if it doesn’t contain raw eggs.
- You don't need to wash fruits or veggies if you don't eat the peel.
Scroll down for answers.
FOOD SAFETY QUIZ ANSWERS
1. FALSE: Though some food-borne illnesses occur within 30 minutes after ingesting, it can take a day, several days, even a week or more before symptoms start. More commonly, it’s about 8 hours or so after ingesting the food. Check out this chart on different bacteria and viruses, with symptoms and time of onset.
2. TRUE: The “danger zone” is not just dangerous for Maverick in Top Gun! The temperatures between 40-140 degrees Fahrenheit are ideal for bacteria to multiply. Keeping food out of this temperature zone reduces your risk of food-borne illness.
3. TRUE: Cases of food-borne illness increase in the summer, when food is more likely to spend time in that danger zone. An outdoor picnic in 90-degree weather means food is only “safe” for one hour, if not packed in something to keep cool or hot.
4. FALSE: Sadly, raw cookie dough not only contains raw eggs, but also raw FLOUR, and both can be sources for food-borne illness. So say “NO” to raw cookie dough. Check out other high-risk foods here.
5. FALSE: Even if you don’t eat the skin or peel of fresh produce, when cutting, eating or just handling, bacteria and viruses can accidentally transfer what’s outside to the inside. The experts recommend washing or rinsing all fresh produce with clean water (no need for special produce cleaning solutions).
If you have questions for a KidShape Registered Dietitian about food safety or other nutrition topics, please send us an email at [email protected]
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