Chances are you’ve been affected by food poisoning at some point in your life either from reheating leftover meals from three or four days ago, or eating that unsanitary hamburger you bought along the roadside. The severity or mildness of the illness that may occur depends on the pathogens.

Foodborne illness is contracted from consuming contaminated food. The major mediums are bacteria, viruses, or parasites that contaminate food. Vomiting, nausea, stomach cramps, diarrhoea, headache, fever, and chills are signs of food-borne disease.

What is food safety?

Food safety considerations include food labelling, food additives, pesticides, food hygiene, biotechnology, and food regulations, and requirements for the management of import and export and certification systems for food.

Staff writer Stacey Shepard said: ‘the U.S Food and Drug Administration has mandated that foods from different parts of the world must be grown according to the same safety standards as domestically produced food and must be reviewed by the U.S FDA before it can enter the United States.

What are the effects of eating contaminated food?

Most food poisoning cases go unreported to health departments but 90% of all foodborne illness that leads to hospitalisation and death are caused by seven pathogens: Salmonella, Norovirus, Campylobacter, Toxoplasma, E. coli O157: H7, Listeria and Clostridium perfringens.

Who is most affected?

Anybody can be affected by contaminated food but some are more vulnerable than others.

∙         Pregnant women. Pregnant women are susceptible to foodborne illness because of the changes that occur in a woman’s immune system during pregnancy. The unborn babies are also affected because their immune systems are underdeveloped and cannot fight these harmful bacteria. Consuming contaminated food during pregnancy may lead to miscarriages, premature delivery, sickness, or stillbirth.

∙         Children: Children are also at risk of foodborne disease because their immune systems are not fully developed. This may lead to sickness, and in some cases, death.

∙         Older adults:  Because their immune system is weak, older adults are prone to foodborne disease. Most adults are on one form of medication or the other and these medications could weaken their immune system.

∙       People with deficient immune systems: Some people have deficient immune systems because of certain illness/disease or frequent medications. Examples of such people are transplant patients and patients with cancer, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS.

What are the things to consider in preventing food-borne illnesses?

Here are ways you can avoid food poisoning as found on https://www.safefoodpro.co.nz/

  1. Proper food handling and storage

Properly storing your food and using sanitary tools and workspaces can reduce the risk of food poisoning. When handling your food:

∙         Do not buy food whose seal or packaging is broken.

∙         Only use tightly sealed water and air proof containers.

∙         Check the date canned food or sealed products are made and when they will expire.

∙         Use different utensils for ready-to-eat foods and raw meat.

  1. Danger zone

Temperature control can prevent foodborne illness. The range of temperature from 4⁰C to 60⁰C is known as the danger zone which enhances the growth of pathogenic bacteria. Do not rely solely on cooking times alone; ensure that you check the temperature of the food being cooked.

  1. Identifying high-risk foods

High-risk foods are easily affected by moisture, temperature, time, and oxygen. Most contaminated foods often look different from their original state, they taste and smell different too but this is not always the case. Some high-risk foods include the following:

∙         Prepared foods such as coleslaw, salad, pasta and other readymade foods like sandwich, sausage roll, leftover meals containing any of the foods listed above and unwashed vegetables.

∙         Poultry products and foods containing eggs such as omelets or quiche

∙         Dairy food products such as custard or cheesecake

∙        Opened canned foods, foods with plastic containers and bag, and foods not refrigerated after they have been opened

∙         Any cooked starch such as cooked rice and pasta.

∙         Raw and cooked meat, seafood, fish, poultry, shellfish, and foods made with these.

∙         Cooked meals or heat-treated foods of plant origin such as vegetables, beans, or fruits

∙         Raw sprouts such as alfalfa or beans

∙         Deli-style meat such as hot dogs, luncheon meat, and fermented and dry sausages

  1. Food control app/plan

Another effective method of preventing foodborne illness is to have a food safety app. When running a food business you don’t want to worry about which food safety tasks need to be completed or if all your food meets the food safety regulations. SAFEFOOD PRO is a certified app that monitors the safety of your food.

Visit for more details.