11: Food Safety and the Future of our Food
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Food borne illness (often called "food poisoning") is any illness resulting from consuming contaminated food containing: pathogenic bacteria, viruses, or parasites, as well as toxins such as poisonous mushrooms and various species of beans that have not been boiled for at least 10 minutes. Symptoms vary depending on the cause, and are described below in this article. A few broad generalizations can be made, e.g.: The incubation period ranges from hours to days, depending on the cause and on how much was consumed. The often long incubation period tends to cause sufferers to not associate the symptoms with the item consumed, and so to cause sufferers to attribute the symptoms to gastroenteritis for example. Symptoms often include: vomiting, fever, and aches, and may include diarrhea. Bouts of vomiting can be repeated with an extended delay in between, because even if infected food was eliminated from the stomach in the first bout, microbes (if applicable) can pass through the stomach into the intestine and begin to multiply. Some types of microbes stay in the intestine, some produce a toxin that is absorbed into the bloodstream, and some can directly invade deeper body tissues.
- 11.1: Protecting Our Food
- Foodborne illness is any illness resulting from the food spoilage of contaminated food, pathogenic bacteria, viruses, or parasites that contaminate food, as well as chemical or natural toxins such as poisonous mushrooms and various species of beans that have not been boiled for at least 10 minutes.
- 11.2: Microbes in Food
- Bacteria are a common cause of foodborne illness.
- 11.3: Food-Borne Illness
- Many different disease-causing germs can contaminate foods, so there are many different foodborne infections. The US CDC estimates that each year 48 million people get sick from a foodborne illness, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die. Researchers have identified more than 250 foodborne diseases. Most of them are infections, caused by a variety of bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Harmful toxins and chemicals also can contaminate foods and cause foodborne illness.
- 11.4: Common Food-Borne Pathogens
- The majority of foodborne illnesses are caused by harmful bacteria and viruses, although some parasites also cause foodborne illnesses.
- 11.5: Foodborne Illness and Food Safety
- Foodborne illness is caused by pathogens, such as bacteria and viruses, toxins, such as those produced by molds and poisonous mushrooms, and chemical contaminants, such as pesticide residues and pollutants. A number of government agencies work to regulate food, manage outbreaks, and inform the public about foodborne illness and food safety. Consumers also should take measures to protect their health, including following the rules for four key steps: clean, separate, cook, and chill.
- 11.6: Food Preservation
- Food preservation involves preventing the growth of bacteria, fungi (such as yeasts), or other micro-organisms (although some methods work by introducing benign bacteria or fungi to the food), as well as slowing the oxidation of fats that cause rancidity. Food preservation may also include processes that inhibit visual deterioration, such as the enzymatic browning reaction in apples after they are cut during food preparation.
- 11.7: Preparing for Disasters
- Consider the following things when putting together your emergency food supplies: Store at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food. Choose foods your family will eat. Remember any special dietary needs. Avoid foods that will make you thirsty.
- 11.8: Food Additives
- Food additives are substances added to food to preserve flavor or enhance its taste and appearance. Some additives have been used for centuries; for example, preserving food by pickling (with vinegar), salting, as with bacon, preserving sweets or using sulfur dioxide as with wines. With the advent of processed foods in the second half of the twentieth century, many more additives have been introduced, of both natural and artificial origin.
- 11.9: Start Your Sustainable Future Today
- Living a sustainable lifestyle can help you to work toward achieving optimal health. There are a number of steps you can take to promote sustainable practices, such as buying locally grown food, eating a plant-based diet, and becoming aware of food and nutrition issues in your community. The Transtheoretical Model of Behavioral Change outlines the different stages of the process of change, and provides tools and techniques to enable major changes.
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