What Food Handlers Should Know About Microbes

microbes growing inside of a cultured petri dishThe very essence of a food handler’s job involves potentially dangerous food-borne microbes — millions upon billions of them. For anyone currently taking a food handlers course, it is imperative that several truths about these microscopic denizens — and their possible effects — be brought to light.

Food Poisoning Can Kill

A food handler is supposed to know of the basic, most critical tenets of food preparation and sanitation. The last thing a food handler wants is to cause food poisoning, which can be fatal. Contaminated food can be potent enough to cause extreme discomfort, bannered by symptoms such as heartburn, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, forceful and repeated vomiting, all of which can cause kidney and liver failure. The above symptoms are indicative of an E. coli infection known as a haemolytic uremic syndrome. If untreated, a person only has at least a 15 percent chance of survival.

The Five-Second Rule Is More Or Less Bogus

Conventional knowledge states that dropped food is still safe to eat if picked up within five seconds. Scientists can test this hypothesis, finding it wanting. Researchers from Aston University in England are the ones to tackle the subject. According to them, foods is only less likely — take note of the term — to contain harmful microbes if dropped. But then, ‘less likely’ doesn’t mean the same as ‘perfectly safe’ to eat.

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Prevention Is Easier Than Treatment

A food handler is expected to know the basic and advanced concepts of proper personal hygiene. Referring to the E. coli infection previously described, a food-borne illness is easier to prevent than to cure. A case of haemolytic uremic syndrome, because of its rather profound symptoms, will require extensive treatment such as dialysis and plasmapheresis.

The latter procedure involves removing the blood from the body, separating it from the plasma, and mixing it with a newer, healthier batch of plasma. Obviously, this requires way more time and effort just to treat an illness that could’ve been entirely prevented.

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