The change of seasons often means a change in our diet.
When we enter into the fall season (and especially over the holidays), it seems like all we are doing is eating or preparing to eat. We travel hours out of our way to visit an apple orchard or get hot apple cider, prepare a massive turkey for Thanksgiving, and bake cookies on top of cookies for holiday parties.
But there are risks that come with these delicious activities beyond the one to our waistlines. This is particularly true if you prepare the food yourself.
We’re talking, of course, about foodborne illnesses. And while a bout of food poisoning or a queasy stomach can only be a minor bump in our holiday celebrations, the effects on our children can be far more severe.
The Shocking Statistics on Foodborne Illnesses
Incidents of illness from food, including food poisoning, are shockingly common: 600 million cases are reported each year. For most people, this means facing a day of uncomfortable stomach symptoms and shaking your fist at the restaurant or meal that left you hanging over the toilet.
But 420,000 people end up dying from their symptoms every single year. Of those 420,000 people, 125,000 are children under the age of 5 – almost a third of all foodborne deaths!
Bacteria, viruses, chemicals, and parasites in food cause most of these illnesses. The most common and well-known are salmonella and E. Coli.
How to Prevent Foodborne Illnesses
Whether you have young children or simply want to avoid foodborne illnesses for everyone, be
sure to follow these tips:
- Avoid unpasteurized products. They can contain bacteria like salmonella.
- If you do go apple picking during the fall season, be sure to thoroughly wash your apples before eating. This goes for any fruit or vegetable that you purchase.
- Inspect children’s goodie bags after Halloween or other holiday parties. Remove any choking hazards, as well as candy or goodies that look suspicious.
- Make a plan for serving and preparing food. Perishable food that is exposed for over two hours may collect harmful bacteria. Keep perishable dishes in the fridge until they are ready to be served.
- When you are baking cookies or other sweet treats, avoid eating the raw dough. Raw eggs run a high risk of containing salmonella. (If you can’t resist, replace the eggs in your recipes with bananas, applesauce, or other alternatives to eggs. Your ingredients will still bind, and you have a dramatically reduced risk of ingesting salmonella!)
- Reheat liquid leftovers by bringing them to a boil, and cook solids thoroughly. Throw out leftovers if they have not been eaten in four or five days.
- Check online for any recalled food items or ingredients. Defective foods may be recalled if the company suspects an E. Coli or salmonella contamination, as well as any mislabeling or mishandling of food products.
- If you are traveling for the holidays, keep bottled water handy. Drinking water throughout the country contains different levels of contamination that may not be noticeable or traceable until you start having symptoms.
Food Borne Illness Lawyer
It can be hard to trace the cause of your foodborne illness, but it is easy to see the physical symptoms – not to mention the financial losses and damages from having to seek treatment.
If you have been affected by a foodborne illness or defective food product, you may have the right to compensation. Reach out to us today to talk about whether you should move on with filing a claim for your case.