The exact number of Georgia food poisoning cases occurring annually is unknown. Many undiagnosed cases occur due to the lack of medical treatment received by potential food poisoning victims. The estimated number of cases resolved without medical intervention is substantial. This is good news. However, many food poisoning cases and outbreaks go unaccounted for. That is bad news for restaurant patrons and others that do not get confirmation of what caused their sickness’. It also means that unknown food safety / food handling violations cannot be corrected from occurring again.
There are multiple types of food poisoning cases. There are different bacteria and different causes of food contamination that results in food borne illnesses. It is possible to get food poisoning from a restaurant, food from someone’s home or by ingesting a product consumed directly from a manufacturer. If you have ever had food poisoning, then you would most likely agree that even one case is too many. In this article on Georgia food poisoning cases, the topic of Salmonella Poisoning is the focus.
Information on Salmonella Poisoning
Salmonellosis is the illness caused by the bacterium Salmonella. It is one of the most common causes of gastroenteritis (an inflammation of the lining of the intestines caused by a virus or bacteria) with more than 2300 cases occurring in Georgia each year. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta estimates that Salmonella causes approximately 1.2 million illnesses and 450 deaths every year in the United States. Additionally, people infected with Salmonella often develop the significant symptoms of the illness within 12 to 72 hours after coming in to contact with the bacteria. Symptoms often include fever, diarrhea, and stomach / abdominal cramps.
Salmonellosis / Salmonella Poisoning typically remains with a patient for four to seven days. An article from the Atlanta Journal Constitution (AJC), also citing the CDC indicates most people do not require hospitalization. They add that “most people don’t need treatment other than drinking lots of fluids.” Some cases are more serious. Dehydrated patients often require hospitalization. Additionally, doctors often prescribe medications to combat food poisoning.
As noted earlier, Salmonella is only one type of food poisoning and other food borne illnesses are just as dangerous and deadly. The foregoing information and tips on preventing Georgia food poisoning cases applies to our general theme of encouraging food safety. Since Thanksgiving has come and gone, and Christmas and New Years are days away, there could not be a better time to remind people about the importance of food safety. This week many people will cook for themselves and their families and we want them to be safe! Food safety should be considered during all times of food preparation and especially during the holidays!
Food Safety Tips for Preventing Georgia Food Poisoning Cases
The following information comes directly from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s website. This site is a good resource for various topics connected to nutrition and food as it relates to your health.
- Wash your hands with soap and water
Wet hands with clean running water and add soap. Warm water is best. Rub your hands together to create lather and scrub and wash all the parts of your hands for 20 seconds. Rinse hands thoroughly use a clean paper towel to dry your hands. Do not contaminate your hands by touching the faucet. Use a paper towel to touch and turn off the faucet.
- Sanitize surfaces
Surfaces (counter tops, cutting boards, etc.) should be cleaned and washed with soapy hot water. Mix 1 tablespoon of unscented liquid chlorine bleach with 1 gallon of water as a cleaner. Some of the bleach and water mix can be poured in a spray bottle that can be used to sanitize surfaces.
- Empty refrigerator of old or bad foods once a week
Once a week or more, throw out all refrigerated foods that should no longer be eaten or consumed. Don’t keep cooked leftover in the fridge for more than 4 days. Discard raw poultry and ground meats after 1 to 2 days.
- Detail your appliances, making sure that every part is sanitized and free of germs and debris
Clean the inside and the outside of all your appliances. This includes buttons and handles where cross-contamination to hands can occur.
- Rinse the produce
All fresh vegetables and fruits should be ri under running water just before preparing or consuming. Rinse them prior to cutting or peeling to prevent microbes from transferring from the outside to the inside of the produce.
- Separate foods when shopping
During check out, keep the raw meats separated in different bags from other groceries. Never store them above the ready-to-eat foods in fridge because that creates a significant contamination risk.
- Separate foods when preparing and serving
Always use a clean cutting board for fresh produce and a different cutting board for raw seafood, meat, and poultry. Never place the prepared ready to eat food back on the same plate or cutting board that previously held the raw food.
COOK AND CHILL
- Use a food thermometer when cooking
A food thermometer should always be used to confirm that food has reached a safe temperature and that once cooked, the food is also held at safe temperatures until eaten.
- Cook food to safe internal temperatures
One effective way to prevent illness is to check the internal temperature of seafood, meat, poultry, and egg dishes. Cook all raw beef, pork, lamb, and veal steaks, chops, and roasts to a safe minimum internal temperature of 145 °F. For safety and quality, allow meat to rest for at least 3 minutes before carving or eating. Cook all raw ground beef, pork, lamb, and veal to an internal temperature of 160 °F. Cook all poultry, including ground turkey and chicken, to an internal temperature of 165 °F.
- Keep foods at safe temperatures
Hold cold foods at 40 °F or below. Keep hot foods at 140 °F or above. Foods are no longer safe to eat when they have been in the danger zone between 40-140 °F for more than 2 hours (1 hour if the temperature was above 90 °F).
At Scholle Law, we want everyone to have safe and fun holidays! Our office represents injury victims, people hurt by someone else’s negligence. Unfortunately injuries happen every day and even during the holidays. Our cases include motor vehicle accidents and work related injuries. Violating important rules and regulations hurts people. Georgia food poisoning cases are such an example.
Food safety experts attribute many food poisoning cases to improper food handling rules, laws and procedures. If that should ever happen to you or someone you know, please have them contact our office. We will provide a free consultation and ascertain how we can best assist. We have 20+ years of expertise in representing injured Georgians. Call our office today and find out how we can help. We look forward to hearing from you!