Public Health Solutions
District Health Department
995 East Hwy 33, Ste 1
Crete, NE 68333-2562
"Stomach flu". "Food Poisoning". These are two commonly used (and inaccurate) names for the variety of foodborne illnesses that sicken about 76 million Americans each year. Even the name "foodborne illness" can be misleading, because many such cases actually happen because someone carrying a bacteria or other 'bug' did not wash their hands well enough before touching other surfaces or preparing food!
The three most common causes of foodborne illnesses are:
- Inadequate hygiene
- Contact between ready-to-eat foods and raw meat, seafood or eggs
- Improper temperatures in cooking and/or storing food (not cooked hot enough or long enough, left at room temperature too long, not cooled down quickly enough, etc.)
Many cases of foodborne illness are not acquired from restaurants, which are inspected annually, but from our own kitchens! Below are some tips to prevent foodborne illness in your home:
If you do get sick with what you think might be a foodborne illness, see your doctor and report your illness to the health department. Most foodborne illnesses must be confirmed through testing and lab analysis (blood, urine or stool depending on the type), so don't be shy about asking for tests if you suspect you may have one. If a public source is suspected (like in the 2006 E. Coli outbreak), the health department will work with Nebraska's Department of Agriculture to help prevent a widespread outbreak.
It is now suspected that some boughts of foodborne illnesses can have lifelong health effects - Read More..... This is just another reason to follow the prevention tips above!
More information can be found at:
NE Department of Agriculture: Focus on Food Guide
CDC: Food Related Diseases
Seafood Guide - making choices that are healthy for people and the environment