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Sustainable Food Guide
Environmental Practice at Work © 2005 Link:EP@W Ltd Web Site



Hygiene Issues

Occurrence of infections from food is worldwide. The incidence rate of infection is highest among infants and young children. Epidemics in hospitals, institutions for children, restaurants, nursing homes and the community are common and usually arise from food (meat, poultry, uncooked or lightly cooked eggs and egg products, raw milk and dairy products) contaminated at source or during handling by an ill person or carrier. In the United States in 1994, an estimated 224,000 people came down with salmonella poisoning after eating ice cream.

Salmonella is a bacteria usually found in poultry, eggs, unprocessed milk and in meat and water. Symptoms of salmonella poisoning appear 12-48 hours after consumption of contaminated food or beverages. Symptoms include sudden onset of headache, abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea and sometimes vomiting.

The Health Protection Agency has investigated over 80 outbreaks of salmonella between 2002-4, with at least 2,000 confirmed cases. Evidence shows that the use of Spanish eggs is a major source of this infection. More from FSA.

In the past, the emphasis has been put on good hygiene procedures to protect people rather than attempt to eradicate the incidence in the animal population.

Campylobacter bacteria is another food bourne infection that causes similar affects to salmonella. The bacteria are found naturally in a chicken's gut, but only some strains are harmful.

Organic procedures do not protect against salmonella or campylobacter.


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