SciGuides are a collection of thematically aligned lesson plans, simulations, and web-based resources for teachers to use with their students centered on standards-aligned science concepts.
Each year millions of people in the United States are known to become ill due to food poisoning (food-borne illness). How ill can you become? Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cramps, and fever are just some of the symptoms that a person can have from food poisoning. Not very pleasant is it? Health authorities have a saying: “First you’re afraid that you’re going to die, then you’re afraid you are not going to die.” In 1999 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that there were over 76 million cases of gastrointestinal disease including 325,000 hospitalizations and over 5,000 deaths that were directly attributable to food poisoning. This SciGuide was co-developed between FDA and NSTA.
The main concern in food-service sanitation is the prevention of illness caused by contaminated food. Bacteria, parasitic worms, and chemicals can all cause food-borne illness. Unfortunately, most food-borne illness is not recognized as such and is therefore seldom reported.
By now you are probably wondering why someone would prepare or eat poisoned food? Doesn’t poisoned food taste, look, or smell bad? No! If it did, people wouldn’t eat it. Would you eat a piece of pie that smelled bad? Would you cook a piece of green chicken? Of course not!
According to experts at the CDC, the leading factors causing food-borne illness are:
- Improper cooling, such as leaving cooked foods at room temperature.
- Lapse of a day or more between preparing and serving.
- Holding hot foods at the wrong temperature.
- Improper and inadequate refrigeration of foods.
- Infected persons touching and handling food.
- Improper reheating of previously cooked foods.
- Improper cleaning of kitchen equipment such as knives, pots, and cutting boards.