What is food poisoning and what are the symptoms?
Food poisoning is an illness caused by eating contaminated food. The most common type of food poisoning is the stomach bug, which is caused by bacteria such as Salmonella or Shigella. Other common types of food poisoning include E. coli and norovirus types.
The symptoms of food poisoning vary from person to person but may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramps. Most people recover within a few days, but in rare cases, food poisoning can lead to more serious health complications, such as pneumonia. If you think you may have food poisoning, you should avoid eating any food and consult a doctor.
What causes food poisoning in restaurants?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report roughly 48 million cases of food poisoning each year in the U.S., with around 128,000 being hospitalized. Food poisoning can be caused by bacteria, viruses, and parasites that make people sick, usually within a few hours to a few days.
The illness takes the form of vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, and headaches.
Food poisoning can also cause severe dehydration, which is why it’s so important to know the signs and symptoms. The best prevention is to ensure food preparation practices are followed.
What foods are most commonly associated with food poisoning?
Some foods are often associated with food poisoning since they can cause the bacteria that causes food poisoning to grow.
Raw eggs: Raw eggs may contain salmonella, which can cause food poisoning.
Undercooked meat: Meat that hasn’t been fully cooked or reheated to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit can lead to food poisoning.
Undercooked poultry: Poultry containing bacteria can lead to food poisoning.
Raw shellfish: Raw shellfish, such as clams and oysters, can harbor bacteria that can lead to food poisoning.
Raw sprouts: Raw sprouts, such as alfalfa sprouts, Monterey Jack cheese, and alfalfa hay can contain bacteria that can lead to food poisoning.
Unpasteurized milk: Unpasteurized milk can contain harmful bacteria that can cause food poisoning.
Raw fish: Raw fish can contain harmful bacteria that can cause food poisoning.
How to spot food poisoning in a restaurant
For most of us, dining out is an enjoyable part of life. But, when dining out, especially in a restaurant, there are great health risks to be aware of. You don’t want to become ill from food poisoning, and no one wants to eat in a restaurant that is known to have poor standards.
Here are several tips to follow to help you avoid food poisoning:
1. Avoid Raw Seafood: Raw seafood, like oysters, clams, and sushi, is one of the most dangerous sources of food poisoning.
2. Pick Your Restaurant: Choose restaurants that have good reputations. You can request references from friends, family, and coworkers.
3. Ask for a View: If the restaurant seems a little shady or the food doesn’t look exactly right, ask for another table or ask for another view. Was the food still prepared correctly?
4. Don’t Drink the Water: If the tap water isn’t looking safe, ask for bottled water.
5. Get a Second Opinion: If the food appears to be contaminated or looks a little off, ask the server to bring you another plate of food.
What you can do to avoid food poisoning from a restaurant
Food poisoning is one of the most common health concerns. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year about 48 million Americans will get sick, 128,000 will be hospitalized, and about 3,000 will die from foodborne illnesses. If you or a loved one is a victim of food poisoning, the culprit is probably something you ate at a restaurant.
You can protect yourself from food poisoning by following a few simple rules:
- Don’t leave a used plate or utensils on the table and don’t let anyone else use it. In addition to being rude, it can spread germs to the next person.
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Ask for clean utensils or other supplies.
- Order food that is thoroughly cooked.
- Drink unboiled or filtered water.
- Throw away anything that has touched raw meat.
- Don’t eat food that looks or smells bad.
In conclusion, food can become contaminated due to carelessness in the preparation of the food. For instance, if a chef accidentally cuts into and contaminates food with bacteria, it becomes unsafe to eat. However, food preparation oversights are not the most common way that food becomes tainted.
If a restaurant fails to refrigerate food that is already cooked, it could result in a health risk for customers and if you become sick after eating at a restaurant, you should seek medical attention, lay a claim against them and you may be eligible for compensation.