Unit 2

Food poisoning.
Food can become contaminated at any stage during its production, processing or cooking.
For example, you can get food poisoning by:
· not cooking food thoroughly (particularly poultry, pork, burgers, sausages and kebabs)
· not storing food that needs to be chilled at below 5°C correctly
· keeping cooked food unrefrigerated for more than an hour
· eating food that has been touched by someone who is ill with diarrhoea and vomiting
· cross-contamination (the spread of bacteria, such as E. coli, from contaminated foods)
Cross-contamination is a cause of food poisoning that's often overlooked. It occurs when harmful bacteria are spread between food, surfaces and equipment.
For example, if you prepare raw chicken on a chopping board and don't wash the board before preparing food that won't be cooked (such as salad), harmful bacteria can be spread from the chopping board to the food.
Cross-contamination can also occur if raw meat is stored above ready-to-eat meals. If juices from the meat drip on to the food below, it can become contaminated.
Sources of contamination
Food contamination is usually caused by bacteria, but it can also sometimes be caused by viruses or parasites. Some common sources of contamination are described below.
Campylobacter bacteria are usually found on raw or undercooked meat (particularly poultry), unpasteurised milk and untreated water. Undercooked chicken liver and liver pâté are also common sources.
The incubation period (the time between eating contaminated food and the onset of symptoms) for food poisoning caused by campylobacter is 2-5 days.
Salmonella bacteria are often found in raw meat and poultry and untreated water. They can also be passed into dairy products such as eggs and unpasteurised milk.
The incubation period for food poisoning caused by salmonella is 12-48 hours.
Listeria bacteria may be found in a range of chilled, ready-to-eat...